New York City, Sep 10 (EFE).- Novak Djokovic took home a coveted 24th grand slam on Sunday at Flushing Meadows, defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the United States Open final to equal Margaret Court’s legendary record.
The Serbian, who has won the tournament four times, has now won more grand slams than any other man and is the first male to have won three in a season for the fourth time.
At 36 years old, Djokovic also become the oldest men’s champion in New York in the Open era and celebrated his victory crying on the court and hugging his daughter while wearing a T-shirt in tribute to his late friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic, who on Monday will once again top the world rankings, defeated Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(5) and 6-3 in three hours and 17 minutes.
His victory also got revenge on Medvedev, who defeated him in the final of the 2021 Open and frustrated his attempt to win four grand slams in a calendar year.
With Rafael Nadal recovering from injury and Roger Federer retired, Djokovic has gained a foothold in the debate about who is the best of the “big three” players thanks to a magnificent 2023 in which he reached the finals of the Big Four and finished with three titles: the Australian Open, Roland Garros and now the US Open.
“It obviously means the world to me,” Djokovic said on the court in New York. “I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in the sport.”
“I never imagined I would be here standing talking about 24 grand slams, I never thought that would be the reality, but the last couple of years I’ve felt I have a chance, I have a shot at history, and why not grab it if it’s presented?”
The player finished his return to the US Open in style after missing last year’s tournament because of his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Djokovic cautiously warned before going out to Arthur Ashe Stadium, packed with stars including Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlize Theron and Sting under the retractable roof due to the rain, that Medvedev is one of the mentally toughest players on the circuit.
Djokovic exhibited superb patience, picking up each point without deviating from the script.
On the other hand, Medvedev, who seemed like an insurmountable wall just two days ago, started the match badly. He lost his serve early on and seemed uncomfortable throughout the first set.
Djokovic kept his grip on the match and sealed the first set in 48 minutes without Medvedev managing a single break chance.
The Russian took more risks in the second set as Djokovic began to show clear signs of fatigue.
Medvedev finally got a chance to break Djokovic’s serve after an hour and 45 minutes of play in a game that lasted more than 12 minutes, however, Djokovic saved his serve with a beautiful volley.
He then began shortening the points, using more drop shots, but was tested again in a long 11-minute game in which Medvedev had a set point that he ultimately squandered.
The Serbian seemed to be at a dead end against a dominant Medvedev but managed to win the tie break.
The grueling 105-minute second set left them with empty tanks: Djokovic went to the locker room and Medvedev received medical attention on the court.
Shortly after, the Russian fell and Djokovic jumped to the other side to help him, but the Russian got up without any problems.
However, it was more difficult for him to recover from the mental blow of having let his rival get away in the second set, and he lost his serve twice in the third.