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Novak Djokovic wins the US Open for his twenty fourth Grand Slam title by beating Daniil Medvedev

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Halfway via a second set that lasted 1 hour, 44 minutes, a take a look at of tenacity as a lot as expertise amid a U.S. Open last as exhausting because it was exhilarating, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev engaged one another in a 32-stroke level.

It was amongst many such elongated exchanges between two males whose types are almost mirror pictures, and Djokovic capitulated on this one by netting a backhand. He fell to his again and stayed down, chest heaving. The crowd roared. Djokovic sat up however remained on the bottom for a bit. The crowd roared extra, appreciating the hassle, saluting the leisure.

Using each ounce of his power and a few serve-and-volley guile — an previous man with new tips — Djokovic emerged for a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Medvedev at Flushing Meadows to assert a historic twenty fourth Grand Slam title on Sunday night time in a match extra carefully contested than the straight-set rating indicated.

Novak Djokovic continues to put in writing historical past.@AustralianOpen | @rolandgarros | @Wimbledon

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2023

“I never imagined that I would be here standing with you talking about 24 Slams. I never thought that would be the reality,” stated Djokovic, a 36-year-old from Serbia and the match’s oldest male champion within the Open period, which dates to 1968. “But the last couple of years, I felt I have a chance, I have a shot for history, and why not grab it if it’s presented?”

He moved one main singles title forward of Serena Williams to grow to be the primary participant to win 24 within the Open period. Margaret Court additionally collected a complete of 24, however 13 of these got here earlier than professionals have been admitted to the Slam occasions.

“It obviously means the world to me,” stated Djokovic, who will return to No. 1 within the rankings on Monday.

Novak hits 2️⃣4️⃣

How it sounded on US Open radio 🎙

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2023

There have been moments, notably within the miniseries of a second set, when Djokovic seemed to be faltering. After a number of the most grueling factors — and there have been many — he would lean over with palms on knees or use his racket for assist or pause to stretch his legs.

He allowed Medvedev to return inside a single level of taking that set whereas returning at 6-5. Djokovic rushed the web behind his serve, and whereas Medvedev had a gap for a backhand passing shot, he didn’t come via.

That was a key adjustment: When Djokovic was trying extra bedraggled, he turned to serve-and-volleying, not his standard kind of tactic, to nice success. He received 20 of twenty-two factors he performed that manner, and 37 of 44 total on the factors when he went to the web, some with spectacular volleys or half-volleys at angles a pool shark would respect.

Medvedev by no means countered.

Novak hoists the 🏆 as soon as once more in New York!

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2023

“I should have been less stubborn,” Medvedev stated.

This was Medvedev’s fifth Grand Slam last and he’s now 1-4, with two losses to Djokovic and two to Rafael Nadal. The one victory? That got here in opposition to Djokovic within the 2021 last at Flushing Meadows, stopping a bid for the primary males’s calendar-year Grand Slam in additional than a half-century.

Djokovic’s fourth championship in New York, the place he was unable to compete a 12 months in the past as a result of he isn’t vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, goes alongside his 10 trophies from the Australian Open, seven from Wimbledon and three from the French Open, extending his lead on the boys’s Slam listing. Nadal, sidelined since January with a hip downside, is subsequent with 22; Roger Federer, who introduced his retirement a 12 months in the past, completed with 20.

When it was over, Medvedev tapped Djokovic on the chest as they talked on the internet. Djokovic flung his racket away, put his arms up after which knelt on the courtroom, together with his head bowed. And then the celebration was on. First he discovered his daughter for a hug. His son and spouse got here subsequent, alongside together with his group.

Soon, Djokovic was donning a shirt with “24” and “Mamba Forever” written on it as a tribute to the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, who wore that jersey quantity. And on prime of that went a white jacket with the identical vital quantity stamped on the chest.


— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2023

“Kobe was a close friend. We chatted a lot about the winner’s mentality when I was struggling with injury and trying to make my comeback, work my way back to the top of the game,” Djokovic stated. “He was one of the people that I relied on the most.”

As good as ever, Djokovic went 27-1 within the sport’s most prestigious occasions this season: The lone blemish was a loss to Carlos Alcaraz within the last at Wimbledon in July. Djokovic will rise to No. 1 within the rankings on Monday, overtaking Alcaraz, who was the defending champion at Flushing Meadows however was eradicated by No. 3 Medvedev within the semifinals.

At the beginning Sunday, with the Arthur Ashe Stadium retractable roof shut due to rain within the forecast, Djokovic was snug as could be. No signal of the event weighing on him, no hint of the strain he acknowledged briefly arose late in his semifinal in opposition to unseeded American Ben Shelton.

His exemplary motion good as ever, each stroke simply so, Djokovic got here out as his greatest self. He grabbed 12 of the primary 16 factors — three by way of aces completely positioned, and with tempo, and 4 by way of exchanges that lasted 10 strokes or extra — alongside the best way to leads of 3-0 and 4-1.

24 and counting for Novak Djokovic!

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2023

Medvedev, in distinction, appeared tight, jittery, the looping swings of his white racket breaking down repeatedly, whether or not on a trio of double-faults within the opening set or throughout the lengthier factors.

Beyond that, although, Djokovic was as dependable as a metronome, anticipating almost all the pieces headed his manner and scurrying this fashion and that to retrieve and reply, as is his wont.

On this afternoon-into-evening, assist got here from 1000’s within the stands, not solely the oldsters invoking his two-syllable nickname whereas chanting, “Let’s go, No-le, let’s go!” or these in his visitor field, together with Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, considered one of many A-listers available.

Djokovic depends on analytics and what a foe’s tendencies are. He leans on intuition and a masterful skill to learn opposing serves and groundstrokes. On Sunday, his blue footwear carried him proper the place he wanted to be, most of the time, and his flexibility — turning, bending, contorting, stretching, sliding, defending together with his again to the web, even — allowed him to maintain the ball in play, when required, and create flip-the-switch offense, too, if desired.

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Medvedev performs equally. Points lasted 25 photographs, 35 photographs, extra.

Was Djokovic good? No. But, wow, he got here shut in sections, and he was completely adequate all through to win, as he so typically is.

“First of all, Novak, I want to ask: What are you still doing here? Come on,” Medvedev joked throughout the trophy presentation.