© Reuters. Tennis – U.S. Open – Flushing Meadows, New York, United States – September 10, 2023 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates profitable his last match towards Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Mike Segar
By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Novak Djokovic wouldn’t let Daniil Medvedev spoil his date with historical past a second time as he battled previous the Russian 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 to win the U.S. Open on Sunday and equal Margaret Court docket’s report haul of 24 Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s victory, his fourth in 10 Flushing Meadows finals, capped one other outstanding season after his wins on the Australian Open and Roland Garros, and he’ll return to the highest of the world rankings when they’re up to date in a while Monday.
No man has gained a calendar Grand Slam in 54 years, although Djokovic got here shut as soon as once more, shedding in 5 units to Carlos Alcaraz within the Wimbledon last.
However for the second he’s savouring his twenty fourth Slam.
“It clearly means the world to me,” he stated. “I am actually dwelling my childhood dream.
“To make the historical past of this sport is one thing actually outstanding, it is laborious to explain the phrases.
“I had the childhood dream after I was seven, eight, I needed to develop into the very best participant on the earth.”
As he continues to dwell his dream Djokovic can be staking his declare to the mantle of best tennis participant of all time.
At 36 Djokovic additionally turns into the oldest U.S. Open males’s winner within the Open Period however the Serb’s Grand Slam starvation has not dimmed and he had some unhealthy information for his youthful rivals.
“Ultimately sooner or later I’ll depart tennis in about 23, 24 years,” he joked. “Till then, I suppose you may see me a bit extra.
“I do not put any quantity proper now in my thoughts on what number of Slams I wish to win.
“I am going to proceed to prioritize them as my most vital tournaments and the place I wish to play the very best tennis.”
After clinching his historic title on Sunday Djokovic threw his racquet into the air and dropped to his knees as the gang roared.
He picked himself up and located his younger daughter court-side for an emotional hug earlier than going again to the bench and pulling out a T-shirt with ‘Mamba Perpetually’ on the entrance and the quantity 24 on the again.
The shirt was a tribute to each his achievement and to his late pal Los Angeles Lakers nice Kobe Bryant, who wore the quantity all through a lot of his all-star profession earlier than dying in a helicopter crash.
“I considered doing this T-shirt, finally, if I get the possibility to win the event,” stated Djokovic. “Kobe was an in depth pal, we chatted loads in regards to the winner’s mentality.
“After I was fighting damage he was one of many folks I relied on probably the most.”
Neither Djokovic nor Medvedev have been absolutely embraced by the New York crowds and till the top of the match there was little of the electrical energy that crackled via Arthur Ashe in the course of the girls’s last on Saturday.
Because the match began Djokovic walked out onto court docket and stared throughout the web at Medvedev, the person as soon as once more standing between him and historical past simply as he had two years in the past.
The final time the 2 clashed on the U.S. Open was within the 2021 last, when the Russian captured his solely main and denied the Serb that elusive calendar Grand Slam.
Djokovic didn’t communicate of revenge on the highway to the ultimate and solely referenced that loss as a studying expertise.
“I have never performed any event on American soil for 2 years,” stated Djokovic, who missed final yr’s Slam because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“I actually did my greatest within the final 48 hours to not permit the significance of the second and what’s on the road get to my head.
“Two years in the past that is what occurred and I wasn’t in a position to be at my greatest and I used to be outplayed.
“So I realized my lesson.”
As anticipated of a contest that includes the game’s two premier hardcourt gamers, nearly each level was contested with lengthy rallies as each males pounded away from the baseline.
Djokovic got here out enjoying with objective and utilized stress straight away, breaking the third seed on the first alternative on his solution to a 3-0 lead.
That might be the one break Djokovic would want towards a surprisingly flat Medvedev, who couldn’t increase his play to the “12 out of 10” stage he stated he reached in beating defending champion Alcaraz within the semi-finals.
Throughout a marathon one hour and 44 minute, lung-bursting second set Medvedev got here to life, forcing a faltering Djokovic into lengthy grinding level after lengthy grinding level.
However the tireless Russian’s laborious work didn’t pay dividends and he was unable to transform a break likelihood at 6-5 that will have given him the set.
Medvedev charged in entrance 3-1 within the tie-break however once more couldn’t land the knockout blow as Djokovic got here off the ropes to take it 7-5 for a 2-0 lead.
If there may be one factor Djokovic possesses it’s a killer intuition and the Serb wasted no time in urgent residence his benefit, breaking Medvedev to go up 3-1 within the third.
A defiant Medvedev answered along with his first and solely break of the match nevertheless it was not sufficient with Djokovic hitting proper again with one other break then holding serve the remainder of solution to clinch the title.