There were no surprises in the final of this US Open as Novak Djokovic claimed his fourth title at Flushing Meadows and his 24th overall singles tally to finally equal Margaret Court’s achievement in 1973 when she lifted the trophy there for a fifth time.
I think he was probably a better player in the second set. He deserved to win that set more than I did. Novak Djokovic
It took Djokovic, three-hours, 17-minutes to overcome Daniil Medvedev 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 and avenge the defeat he suffered at the same stage in 2021 when the Russian prevented the Serbian claiming a calendar Grand Slam.
“To make the history of this sport is something truly remarkable and special,” Djokovic said. “I never imagined that I would be here talking about 24 Slams. I never thought that would be the reality, but the last couple of years I felt I have a chance, I have a shot at history—and why not grab it if it’s presented.”
Medvedev acknowledged the feat: “24. I feel like I have not a bad career and I have 20 titles, you have 24 Grand Slams. Wow.”
Djokovic made his move early y breaking in the second game and then cruised to take the opener.
In the second, Djokovic continued to dominate on serve — at one point winning 15 straight points with his serve — but Medvedev began to establish his own game to prevent it from becoming too one-sided.
Serving 3-4, Djokovic saved his first break point and then another, this time at set point at 5-6 to force a tie-break where Medvedev played an incredible point to go up 5-4 only to falter.
“Should have won it. Should have won it, but sometimes tennis is not that easy,” Medvedev said later of the opportunity lost. “Passing for sure down the line, not cross, but I have two choices and I chose the wrong one. Had I won the second set maybe it could have been a different game.
“He was tired. He was missing some shots at the end of some long rallies,” Medvedev added. “That’s why it was a pity that I didn’t win the second set because I felt like I was all over him, like I was dominating in a way.”
Djokovic broke again to lead in the third only to lose it immediately but it wasn’t long before he captured the Russians serve again to romp into the history books.
“I don’t think I have ever played a longer set in my life, particularly not on this occasion against a top player like Daniil,” Djokovic said of that crucial second set.
“I think he was probably a better player in the second set. He deserved to win that set more than I did. Somehow, I managed to turn things around in the tie-break. When it mattered, I put one ball into play more than he did. And that was enough.”
“Honestly, in the second I felt like I was losing air on so many occasions, and my legs, as well. I don’t recall being so exhausted after rallies really as I have been in the second set.”
Djokovic wins his first US Open since 2018 when he beat Juan Martin Del Potro in what were similar conditions under the roof and with an identical score-line!
Djokovic, who returns to the top spot in the world rankings on Monday, hasn’t been allowed to compete at the US Open since 2021 as he was banned from the country forrefusing to be vaccinated for Covid-19 to become, at 36, the oldest male player to win the title.
“The fact is that at 36, every Grand Slam final could be the last one,” Djokovic acknowledged. “So I think that I probably value these occasions and opportunities to win another Slam more than I did maybe 10 years ago, because 10 years ago I felt like, ‘Hey, I still have quite a few years ahead of me.’ I don’t know how many I have ahead of me now, I don’t know how many of the years where I play four Slams in the season.”
“I see this every Grand Slam that I play right now as really a golden opportunity to make more history.”
And he will no doubt be raring to go at the Australian Open where he has already notched up 10 titles, and become the holder of the most singles titles at the four majors.