“This means the world to me,” said Novak Djokovic about his 24th tennis Grand Slam title, which put him on a level with previous record holder Margaret Court. In style and in keeping with the taste of the American audience, the 36-year-old Serb celebrated his 6:3, 7:6 (5), 6:3 final triumph over Daniil Medvedev (Rus), which gave him a lead of more than 3,000 points Carlos Alcaraz (Esp) swept back to the top of the world rankings.
No wonder, as the now four-time US Open champion, who has not yet had enough, was conspicuous by his absence in New York last year. The authorities had refused him entry because he had not had a corona vaccination.
In memory of Kobe Bryant
The comeback was all the more phenomenal – garnished with an after-show party, for which Djokovic won hearts with a T-shirt with a tribute to the legendary basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020. The greatest tennis player in history wore Bryant’s number 24, which also represents the number of major titles “Djoker” has won, the inscription “Mamba” (Bryant’s nickname) and a photo together.
“A week ago I had the idea that we had prepared this in case I was successful. Kobe was a really good friend who supported me, especially during the time of my injury (2017 elbow, note). I miss him very much.” , reported the man from Belgrade, who prefers to drink water from a special energy source, but is still often compared to wine. The older, the better.
Djokovic has won twelve Grand Slam titles after his 31st birthday, which is also incredible and makes you want more, as his coach Goran Ivanisevic revealed: “Novak is planning for the Olympics – in Los Angeles.” So for the 2028 Summer Games. Then Djokovic will be 41 years old.
So why stop when things are at their best? “I’m enjoying it a lot, even though it was hard work against Daniil,” said the exceptional athlete. After 3:17 hours of high intensity and, especially in the second set, at an impressive level, both protagonists were visibly marked.
Djokovic had cooled his injured neck several times with ice packs, Medvedev had been treated on his left shoulder (his hitting arm is his right). Later, the 27-year-old Russian would only have words of fascination for his conqueror: “I think my career wasn’t that bad. I won 20 titles, but you have 24 majors – that’s incredible.” If you add up the “normal” tournament victories, Djokovic comes to an impressive number of 96.
Djokovic celebrated with his loved ones. The parents were there, his wife Jelena, the children Stefan (8) and Tara (6), whom he took in his arms with tears. That also means the world to him.
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