In a grueling final match at the US Open in New York, Novak Djokovic prevailed against Daniil Medvedev to tie the record for most Grand Slam singles titles won with 24.
The 36-year-old Serb triumphed in straight sets with a score of 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, however the result does not accurately reflect the difficulty of the match.
The first set was quite easy, but the second set, which lasted for one hour and forty-four minutes, was much harder.
Djokovic grabbed control of the match to tie Margaret Court’s record that had stood for fifty years after the pair began the third set by trading breaks.
Djokovic expressed his gratitude by saying, “It obviously means the world to me,” after winning his 24th major championship.
“I’m actually living out my childhood ambition of competing at the greatest level in this sport, which has given me and my family so much despite the challenging conditions we’ve faced throughout our lives.
“I never in a million years imagined that I would be standing here, but over the past few years I’ve entertained the idea that I might make history.” Why not take advantage of the situation when it arises?
Seed number two Despite the fact that Djokovic appeared to be struggling physically in that grueling second set, he displayed all of the qualities that define greatness to win his fourth US Open title.
Djokovic, who earlier this year broke Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 men’s major wins, has now matched Australia’s Margaret Court at the second attempt after falling short in the Wimbledon final in July.
He is the only man to ever accomplish this feat on four separate occasions, since he has now won three of the four Grand Slam titles for the year 2023.
Now, the player who will replace Court as the number one player in the world has the opportunity to overtake Court at the Australian Open in January, where Court has previously won a record 10 titles.
It was only fair that Djokovic should win yet another lengthy rally to put himself in position to win the championship. After being forced to wait to serve by chants from the spectators, Djokovic eventually sealed the victory when Medvedev blasted a forehand into the net.
“I would definitely sign the paper right away if somebody would tell me I would win three out of four and play in the finals of Wimbledon this year,” Djokovic remarked.
“It is a minor source of disappointment that I was unable to win the Wimbledon final. But at the end of the day, I have a lot more reasons to be happy and pleased with my life than there are things for which I should feel remorse.
Djokovic demonstrates one more why he should never be underestimated.
It felt like a changing of the guard moment in the men’s game when Djokovic was defeated by Carlos Alcaraz, who was only 20 years old and playing in the final of Wimbledon.
However, despite the fact that he is towards the end of his career, Djokovic continues to demonstrate that he should never be discounted.
Djokovic will take over as the number one player in the world on Monday after winning eight of the last 12 major tournaments he has competed in. Alcaraz will be dethroned from his position.
“It is not my interest or business to really review what everyone talks about or thinks, whether there is a passing of the torch, or whatever you want to call it, happening or not happening in the sport,” he added. “It’s not my interest or business to really review what everyone talks about or thinks.”
“I concentrate on what I need to do and how I can get myself into the best possible state so that I can win the most prestigious awards that are available in our sport. That is the thing that concerns me.
Djokovic was dialed in from the beginning of Sunday’s final, playing calmly and perfectly to break for a 2-0 lead, while Medvedev appeared to be ragged as he fell 3-0 behind in the match.
Djokovic made the astute decision to serve-volley on his way to 4-1, a strategy that he continued to use throughout the match, and he demonstrated his all-around talent to win the opening set. Medvedev was well back from the baseline as he was receiving the ball.
In his previous 73 matches at the US Open, Djokovic had never fallen behind a set, and the only time he did so was in the championship match against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in 2016.
At the beginning of the second set, Djokovic’s dogged returning continued to force errors out of Medvedev, who was serving poorly and making careless errors. Medvedev was also making unforced errors.
The consistent pressure put on Djokovic throughout the seventh game resulted in another break point for him, but Medvedev was able to hold as Djokovic fell to the court following an exhausting 31-shot rally. Medvedev went on to win the game.
It appeared as though Djokovic was experiencing some kind of physical discomfort because he was able to hold a long game for 4-4 and fend off Medvedev’s first break point of the match.
The third seed from Russia was now staying in the rallies for longer, which was stretching Djokovic to his physical and mental limits. He created a set point for himself at 6-5, but Djokovic was able to save it with another serve and volley.
But Djokovic was able to pull through and win in the end, setting up a set that went the distance before going to a tie-break.
When a shocking 23-shot point eventually went his way despite Djokovic’s doggedness, Medvedev was leading 5-4. However, the veteran was able to lock in and take the following three points for a two-sets-to-love advantage. Medvedev eventually lost the match.
It was obvious that Medvedev had to tie the match by winning the second set in order to have any chance of really winning the match, and the sense that the outcome was predetermined was heightened by the fact that the Russian needed treatment for a shoulder issue before the third set.
He attempted to mount a comeback by bringing it back on service when the score was 3-2, but Djokovic broke immediately after he had done so and confidently sealed another legendary victory.
The manner in which Djokovic celebrated reaching the milestone number 24
Djokovic wept as he knelt on the court after shaking hands with his opponent, and then he looked out into the audience to find his daughter, Tara, and hugged her.
As he went to celebrate with his nearest and dearest, which included his parents Srdjan and Dijana, wife Jelena, and son Stefan – and Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey – he was overcome with emotion and shed further tears.
Djokovic thanked his family for all of their “sacrifices” while he was a child growing up in war-torn Serbia in the 1990s. He made this statement while addressing his family directly.
“It seemed as though the odds were stacked against me and my family. “Despite the fact that it was difficult to get to and expensive to play, I found myself falling in love with tennis,” he explained.
“No one in my family ever played tennis, but despite that, there was an incredible amount of perseverance and faith from my ancestors.”
“My wife, my children, and my team, this trophy belongs to all of you just as much as it does to me,” I said.
Djokovic also put on a T-shirt that paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was a buddy of his and wore the number 24 during his playing days. Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in the year 2020.
“Kobe was a personal buddy of mine, and during the time that I was dealing with injuries and trying to work my way back to the top, we had a lot of conversations about the winners’ mentality.
“He was always there for assistance in the kindest way, and he was one of the individuals on whom I relied the most.
“His passing has left a deep wound in my heart, and since 24 was the number of the jersey he wore for the Lakers, I felt it would be appropriate to pay tribute to him.”
An incredible moment for the’super-human’ Djokovic – an analysis
After Coco Gauff won a first Grand Slam women’s singles title on Saturday at the beginning of her thrilling career, the New York crowds were treated to two special nights. While Djokovic’s victory generated emotion for other reasons, as the Serb is nearing the conclusion of his career, the crowds in New York were treated to both nights.
BBC commentators praised Djokovic’s accomplishment, with former British number one Annabel Croft claiming that fans had watched “something incredibly special”
We were there when he tied Margaret Court for the most titles with 24. It has been a long journey for him, but he has now arrived at his destination. He has superhuman abilities, don’t you think? she stated in an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“In order for him to be successful, he had to force himself to overcome his fear of discomfort. In my opinion, Medvedev couldn’t have performed any better than he did. I simply like how strong of a character he is and how many layers he found in his game. I think that’s quite impressive. It was flawless in every way.
Jeff Tarango, a former player from the United States, described the event as “incredible” and that it was something “no one will ever see again.”
“I don’t think any other human being could have done what he did in this second set and been able to be able to stumble through it, fall over many times and come back again, and again, and again,” she said.
“This was a youngster who spent his childhood playing tennis in an empty swimming pool, and he went on to become the best tennis player in the history of the sport. You can engage in as much psychoanalysis as you like, but the fact remains that he has solved the mystery by putting all of the parts in the right places. It’s impossible for him to become any better.”