QUEENS, NY – Novak Djokovic already held almost all the records in men’s tennis. With last night’s victory at the US Open, he also manages to equal the mark of 24 Grand Slam titles, a figure that only Margaret Court had reached.
“I never imagined I would be here talking about 24 Grand Slams,” Djokovic said during the trophy presentation.
“My only dream was to win Wimbledon,” he commented before showing a t-shirt.
Despite being 36 years old, Djokovic’s physical condition is impeccable, so it would not be strange if he soon surpassed the Australian player.
In a very tactical match of long exchanges from the back of the court in which the Serbian raised the level compared to what he had shown so far in the tournament, Djokovic beat the Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(5 ) and 6-3.
It is the fourth US Open for Djokovic in 10 finals played in New York. As of this Monday he is once again number 1 in the world to the detriment of the Spanish Carlos Alcaraz.
The record tennis player
In addition to equaling the mark of 24 “greats”, it was his 36th final, another record. Djokovic also became the first man to win three Grand Slam tournaments in the same season for the fourth time (2011, 2015, 2021 and 2023). This was the third time that the Serbian reached all the “big” finals in the same year, as he did in 2015 and 2021.
At 36 years old, the Belgrade native became the oldest US Open champion, surpassing Ken Rosewall, who won at the age of 35 in 1970.
A tactical match from Djokovic
The US Open final was Djokovic’s 28th hardcourt match this year. Of the previous 27 he had only lost one: against Medvedev in the Dubai final on March 4.
The 27-year-old Russian has faced Djokovic 15 times, but has never managed to beat him twice in a row. As he himself said after his semi-final, when Djokovic loses, in the next match he surprises you with a totally different game.
And Djokovic came out to Arthur Ashe with a plan: be patient in the baseline exchanges and volley up when the games get complicated.
From the first moment, the exchanges from the back of the court were long and precise. Djokovic started more successful with his serve, while Medvedev gave up a break in his first game on serve, already committing his first double fault.
When he found himself in a tight spot with 0-30 down in the fifth game, the Serbian successfully attacked the net and managed to get out of the jam with brilliant volleys. He did not allow a single breaking ball in the first set, which he took with authority.
Touched but never sunk
In the second set, Djokovic’s superiority on serve was accentuated, as he took the games blank. Meanwhile, Medvedev suffered to maintain his service.
In one of the endless rallies of the seventh game, after missing the last shot, Djokovic dropped to the ground, face up, as if exhausted. Perhaps more theater than a sign of weakness.
In the next game, “Nole” committed his first two double faults of the match and had to defend his first break point. Still, he got out of the mess with two great climbs to the net and did not give up the serve.
Later, with 6-5 down, he committed two double faults again and began stretching between points as if he had some physical problem. But every time he found himself cornered, the Serbian responded with a rise to the net to avoid the lottery of long exchanges, which could fall from either side. Thus, he forced the tie-break.
In the tiebreaker the tie was repeated. Djokovic was hitting his legs with his racket after losing a point. Medvedev took the lead, but the Serbian regained it to win the first set point. The experience was the difference. The partial fell again in favor of Djokovic.
The closing of the second set seemed to affect the morale of Medvedev, who lost his serve early in the third set, twice. And although the Russian achieved the only break of the match, he saw Djokovic avenge the 2021 defeat, when in that US Open final, Medvedev ended Djokovic’s dream of completing the Grand Slam in a year in three sets.