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Never imagined I would win 24 Grand Slams, says Novak Djokovic after US Open 2023 crown; WATCH full speech

Two years after suffering a stunning upset to Daniil Medvedev in the final at Flushing Meadows, Novak Djokovic defeated the 27-year-old 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 for his 24th major title, tying Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam singles trophies in tennis history.

tennis Never imagined I would win 24 Grand Slams, says Novak Djokovic after US Open 2023 crown; WATCH full speech snt
First Published Sep 11, 2023, 10:44 AM IST

Novak Djokovic has once again etched his name in history, triumphing two years after a surprising defeat to Daniil Medvedev in the Flushing Meadows final. This time, Djokovic defeated the 27-year-old Russian with a score of 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, securing his 24th major title and tying with Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam singles trophies in tennis history.

Also read: 24 and counting: Djokovic explains 'Mamba Forever' tribute to Kobe Bryant after US Open 2023 win - WATCH

During the trophy ceremony, Djokovic expressed the significance of this achievement, stating, "To make history of this sport is just something truly remarkable and special. Obviously in every in every possible way, in every possible meaning of the word special. It's hard to describe in words. I had the childhood dream when I was seven, eight. I wanted to become the best player in the world and win the Wimbledon trophy. That was the only thing I wanted."

“But then when I realised that, obviously I started to dream new dreams and set new objectives, new goals. I never imagined that I would be here standing with you talking about 24 Slams," the Serbian added.

Despite signs of fatigue, the four-time US Open champion displayed his trademark ability to perform under pressure. Djokovic's relentless determination and a grueling 104-minute second set, where he saved a set point, ultimately led to his victory.

Just two months earlier, Djokovic faced a heartbreaking five-set loss in the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz. However, he responded with intensity, winning all 12 of his matches since and securing his fourth major title of the year, a feat he had previously achieved in 2011, 2015, and 2021.

With this victory, Djokovic extended his lead, holding two more major titles than Rafael Nadal and four more than Roger Federer, who has retired. He also reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, aiming to secure ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone for an unprecedented eighth time.

A poignant moment during the celebration was Djokovic receiving a hug from his daughter, Tara, courtside. He then ascended to his box to embrace his team and his friend, actor Matthew McConaughey, expressing his gratitude and acknowledging their role in his success.

"I fell in love with tennis. No one has played tennis in my family before, so it was quite a choice I must say," Djokovic said. "But incredible resilience, just belief from my parents, from all the people around me all these years. My wife my kids, my team, everyone that is there, this is your trophy as much as it is mine. This is your success. I love you."

Also read: US Open 2023: Medvedev's question to oldest Grand Slam champion Djokovic leaves crowd in splits - WATCH

Djokovic's strategic approach was evident as he won 84 percent of his 44 net approaches, surpassing the combined net forays against his previous opponents in the semis and quarters.

In the early stages of the final, Djokovic seized control by breaking serve in his first return game and establishing a 3-0 lead. His aggressive baseline play disrupted Medvedev's rhythm.

As the match progressed, Djokovic incorporated serve and volley tactics, winning all 11 of his attempts in the second set. Despite facing a set point at 6-5, Djokovic's reflexed volley secured the set.

This final marked a rematch of their previous encounter at Flushing Meadows when Djokovic sought to achieve a calendar-year Grand Slam. On that occasion, Medvedev won convincingly, but Djokovic exhibited improved form this year.

Throughout the match, Djokovic's shot-making and ability to change directions stood out. However, signs of fatigue emerged after a grueling 31-shot rally in the second set. Djokovic adapted by employing drop shots to conserve energy.

Despite Medvedev's efforts to rally from two sets down, Djokovic secured an early break in the third set. While he briefly surrendered his serve, it did not hinder his victory as Medvedev failed to capitalize.

Medvedev gracefully acknowledged Djokovic's achievement, stating, "24. I feel like I have not a bad career, and I have 20 titles, you have 24 Grand Slams. Wow. Congrats to you and your team. You guys are amazing."

Notably, this year's US Open men's singles final between Djokovic (36 years) and Medvedev (27) set a record as the oldest in the Open Era at 63 years and nine months, surpassing the previous record held by the 2022 championship clash between Pete Sampras (31) and Andre Agassi (32).

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