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  • Sheryll Mericido

Djokovic wins US Open, ties record with 24th Grand Slam

NEW YORK — In a grueling US Open final in New York, Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev to win his record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

The 36-year-old Serbian prevailed in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, although the result does not reflect the lengths to which he had to go.

The second set, which lasted one hour and 44 minutes, was harsh after the first one, which was comfortable.

Early in the third set, the pair traded breaks before Djokovic gained control and matched Margaret Court's 50-year record.

On winning his 24th major championship, Djokovic stated, "It obviously means the world to me."

"I'm actually achieving a childhood ambition of mine by participating at the highest level in a sport that has given my family and me so much despite our challenging circumstances.

"I never imagined that I would be here, but during the past several years, I felt as though I had a chance to make history. Why not seize the opportunity when it arises?

second plant In that grueling second set, Djokovic appeared physically challenged, but he still exuded greatness to win a fourth US Open championship.

After losing the Wimbledon final in July, Djokovic, who earlier this year broke Rafael Nadal's record of 22 major wins for men, has now matched Australia's Court.

He is the first guy to accomplish this feat on four separate occasions after winning three of the four Grand Slam championships in 2023.

At the Australian Open in January, where he has already amassed a record 10 victories, the incoming world number one will have the opportunity to surpass Court.

It seemed appropriate that Djokovic won another drawn-out rally to earn a championship point and, after being forced to delay serving by boos from the crowd, sealed victory when Medvedev smacked a forehand into the net.

If someone told me I would win three out of four and play in the Wimbledon finals this year, I would unquestionably sign the document right away. Djokovic remarked.

"There is a small amount of regret that I lost that Wimbledon championship. At the end of the day, though, I have far more to be happy and content about than I do true regrets.

The Wimbledon final loss by Djokovic to 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz signaled a change in the men's game's leadership.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is still proving that he cannot be written out, even in the latter stages of his career.

Djokovic, who has triumphed in eight of the last 12 major tournaments he has participated in, will retake the top spot from Alcaraz on Monday.

"It's not my interest or business to really review what everyone talks about or thinks, whether there is a passing of the torch, or whatever you want to call it, happening or not in the sport," he declared.

"I concentrate on what I must do and how I may best position myself to win the biggest awards in our sport. That's what matters to me.

The final on Sunday was controlled from the outset by Djokovic, who played methodically and carefully to break for a 2-0 lead. Medvedev looked exhausted as he fell behind 3-0.

Djokovic wisely chose to serve-volley on his way to 4-1—a strategy he used throughout—and displayed his all-around ability to close out the opening set as Medvedev was far beyond the baseline when receiving.

In 73 prior matches at the US Open, Djokovic had only ever lost from a set up once, to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in the 2016 championship match.

At the beginning of the second set, Medvedev's poor serving and careless errors were exacerbated by Djokovic's persistent return.

In the seventh game, Djokovic had another break point due to the persistent pressure, but Medvedev managed to hold as Djokovic collapsed to the ground following an exhausting 31-shot rally.

Djokovic managed to hold a lengthy game for a tie at 4-4 and fended off Medvedev's first break point of the match, suggesting that he was experiencing some physical discomfort.

A set point was created at 6-5, which Djokovic avoided with another serve and volley. The Russian third seed was now sticking around for longer in the rallies, pushing the Serb to his limit.

However, Djokovic eventually crossed the finish line to guarantee that a lengthy set would be decided by a tie-break.

Despite Djokovic's perseverance, Medvedev led 5-4 until a spectacular 23-shot point eventually went in his favor. However, the veteran locked in again and won the following three points to take the match two sets to one.

It was obvious that Medvedev had to win the second set to tie the match in order to have any chance of winning. The Russian's need for treatment for a shoulder injury prior to the third set added to the sense of impending defeat.

At 3-2, he attempted to show resistance by sending the ball back on service, but Djokovic broke again right away to secure yet another illustrious victory.

Djokovic cried as he kneeled on the court after shaking hands with his rival and then pointed to his daughter Tara among the spectators.

He shed more tears as he went to celebrate with his loved ones, including Matthew McConaughey from Hollywood and his parents, Srdjan and Dijana, wife Jelena, and son Stefan.

Djokovic addressed his family, thanking them for all of their "sacrifices" made while he was a young boy growing up in the 1990s in war-torn Serbia.

"Me and my family were essentially up against the wall. I fell in love with tennis despite the fact that it was neither economical nor accessible, he added.

"My family did not have a tennis player, but they showed amazing perseverance and faith.

"My wife, my children, and my team, this trophy is equally yours and mine."

Additionally, Djokovic donned a T-shirt honoring his friend and NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who wore the number 24 during his playing days and was tragically murdered in a helicopter crash in 2020.

"Kobe was a good buddy, and when I was dealing with injuries and attempting to make a comeback to the top, we talked a lot about the winners' attitude.

He was one of the people I turned to most for assistance because he was always there in a warm manner.

I felt it would be wonderful to pay tribute to him because of how much his death impacted me and because he wore the number 24 for the Lakers.

After Coco Gauff won her first Grand Slam women's singles title on Saturday at the start of her thrilling career, the New York crowds were treated to two spectacular nights. However, Djokovic's victory touched people differently because the Serb is nearing the conclusion of his career.

Former British number one Annabel Croft said that viewers had watched "something incredibly special" as she and other BBC commentators praised Djokovic's accomplishment.

"We saw him tie Margaret Court for most titles with 24. He took some time to get there, but he made it. Is he superhuman, or what? On BBC Radio 5 Live, she stated:

To be able to achieve that, he had to push himself past the pain threshold. Medvedev couldn't have played much better, in my opinion. I simply appreciate his moral fortitude and his ability to uncover the depths of his game. It was flawless.

Former American athlete Jeff Tarango praised the game for having an "incredible moment" that "no one will ever see again."

"I don't believe any other person could have accomplished what he did in this second set, managed to fumble through it, trip over numerous times, and then come back again, and again, and again.

"This was a youngster who played tennis in an empty swimming pool as a child and grew up to be the best tennis player ever. You can try to psychoanalyze all you want, but the truth is that he has put the puzzle together from start to finish. He is not capable of improving.

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