On Sunday, Novak Djokovic claimed victory in the US Open by defeating Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in the men’s final. This win brings his total number of grand slam singles titles to 24, extending his record.
The world No. 2 further cemented himself as one of the greatest tennis players ever – with Sunday’s win, he matches Margaret Court’s record for most all-time grand slam titles.
In a second match between the two after the 2021 US Open, the Serbian got revenge for his previous loss against No. 3 seed Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, marking a successful comeback to the United States.
“It obviously means the world to me,” Djokovic said after the match. “I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in the sport that has given me and my family so much.”
Playing in front of a who’s who crowd, Djokovic was in his usual dominant form in the first set, never facing a break point, while hitting 12 winners in nine games. Entering Sunday’s final, Djokovic was 72-1 all-time at the US Open when winning the first set, with his only loss coming to Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 final.
The second set proved to be more competitive, as Djokovic and Medvedev exchanged games in a nail-biting back and forth, culminating in the Serb’s 7-5 tiebreak victory after an hour and 45 minutes.
After gaining momentum and being one set away from his fourth US Open title, Djokovic easily won the match and only needed one championship point to secure the historic victory.
The 36-year-old is now the oldest man in the Open era to win the US Open singles title, and he is also the first man to win three grand slam titles in a single season for the fourth time. He previously achieved this feat in 2011, 2015, and 2021.
Novak Djokovic has now surpassed Rafael Nadal (22) and Roger Federer (20) to hold the record for most men’s singles titles in history.
Djokovic stated that achieving a historical feat in this sport is truly remarkable and holds significant meaning in every aspect of the word “special”.
During a post-match news conference, Djokovic mentioned that his six-year-old daughter sat in the front row during the game. He revealed to reporters that she would give him a smile when he needed a boost of energy.
He expressed the significance of his children witnessing his victory when they were old enough to comprehend it, both his daughter and nine-year-old son.
Djokovic explained that his motivation to continue playing is rooted in not wanting to retire while still at the peak of his career.
Djokovic honors a legend with a historic victory.
Following his victory, Novak Djokovic was overcome with emotion and briefly fell to his hands and knees. He then made his way towards his family in the stands to join in the celebration.
Upon his return to the court, Djokovic paid tribute to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant by donning a blue shirt featuring a photo of himself and Bryant with the words “Mamba Forever” printed on the front. The shirt also displayed Bryant’s number, 24, which he wore during the latter half of his successful basketball career.
“I felt it would be a meaningful gesture to honor him,” expressed Djokovic, who shared a strong bond with Bryant.
Djokovic discussed extensively the mindset of a winner during his injury and comeback journey, as he worked towards reclaiming his position at the top of the game. He shared that this was a significant aspect of his bond with Bryant.
“He was one of the individuals I trusted and relied on greatly. He consistently provided guidance, counsel, and support in a warm and friendly manner.”
Chances to create a significant impact in the past
At each of the major tournaments this year, Djokovic had the chance to create a record.
At the Australian Open, he tied Rafael Nadal’s 22 grand slam titles. He surpassed the men’s record with 23 grand slam titles at the French Open. However, he was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.
In January 2024, the Serb will have a chance to surpass Court and become the player with the most wins in the history of the Australian Open.
This report was contributed to by Eryn Mathewson from CNN.