In a charismatic and physically demanding U.S. Open final, Novak Djokovic clinched his 24th Grand Slam title on a Sunday night that will be etched in tennis history. In a match that was more closely contested than the straight-set scoreline suggested, the 36-year-old Serbian legend displayed unwavering tenacity and crafty serve-and-volley tactics to overcome Daniil Medvedev, winning 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
This victory propels Djokovic ahead of Serena Williams, making him the first player to claim 24 major singles titles in the Open era, which commenced in 1968. Margaret Court also boasts a total of 24 Grand Slam titles, though 13 of hers came before professionals being granted entry into these prestigious events.
Throughout the match, particularly in a grueling second set lasting 1 hour and 44 minutes, Djokovic appeared to waver at times. After arduous rallies, he would lean over with his hands on his knees, use his racket for support, or pause to stretch his legs. However, his resilience and mental fortitude proved unmatched.
This victory held added significance as it avenged Djokovic’s loss to Medvedev in the 2021 U.S. Open final, where his quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam was thwarted – a feat not achieved in over 50 years. Djokovic’s triumph also made him the oldest male champion at the U.S. Open in the Open era.
In a lighthearted moment during the trophy presentation, Medvedev playfully inquired, “First of all, Novak, I want to ask: What are you still doing here?”
Djokovic’s fourth U.S. Open title, which he was unable to defend a year ago due to his unvaccinated status against COVID-19, adds to his impressive collection of 10 Australian Open titles, 7 Wimbledon championships, and 3 French Open victories. This victory further cements his position at the top of the men’s Grand Slam list, with Rafael Nadal trailing at 22 titles and Roger Federer, who retired a year ago, concluding his career with 20.
U.S. Open Final 2023 –>Novak Djokovic:
After the match’s conclusion, Medvedev tapped Djokovic on the chest as they exchanged words at the net. Djokovic, in a moment of exultation, flung his racket away, raised his arms, and knelt on the court with his head bowed. The celebrations ensued, with his daughter being the first to receive a warm hug, followed by his son, wife, and the rest of his team.
Novak Djokovic then adorned a shirt with the number “24” and “Mamba Forever” in tribute to the late NBA icon Kobe Bryant, who famously wore that jersey number. Over this shirt, he wore a white jacket emblazoned with the same significant number on the chest.
In a season characterized by his dominance, Djokovic’s record stands at an impressive 27-1 in the sport’s most prestigious events. His only setback this year was a loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final in July. With this victory, Djokovic is set to reclaim the World No. 1 ranking, dethroning Alcaraz, who was the defending champion at Flushing Meadows but was ousted by the formidable No. 3 seed, Medvedev.
The match began with the Arthur Ashe Stadium’s retractable roof closed due to impending rain, but Novak Djokovic was unfazed by the circumstances. He showed no signs of the occasion weighing on him, displaying none of the tension that briefly surfaced in his semifinal match against unseeded American Ben Shelton.
Djokovic’s signature agility and precision were on full display from the outset. He seized control by claiming 12 of the first 16 points, including three aces and four extended rallies lasting 10 strokes or more. He quickly established leads of 3-0 and 4-1.
On the other side of the net, Medvedev appeared jittery and tight, with his racket failing him on multiple occasions, leading to a trio of double faults in the opening set and struggles during lengthy exchanges. However, it was a 37-shot marathon rally that ended with Djokovic stumbling as he mishandled a backhand that gave Medvedev a glimmer of hope.
Despite these moments, Djokovic remained steadfast, expertly anticipating and retrieving nearly every shot directed his way. His unwavering determination and resilience carried him to this historic victory on a night when his legacy in the sport reached new heights.