Novak Djokovic won the US Open on Sunday, defeating Daniil Medvedev 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in the men’s final to extend his record grand slam singles titles to 24.
The world No. 2 further cemented himself as one of the greatest tennis players ever – with Sunday’s win, he matches Margaret Court’s record for most all-time grand slam titles.
In a rematch of the 2021 US Open final, the Serbian avenged his loss to No. 3 seed Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York to complete his triumphant return to the United States.
“It obviously means the world to me,” Djokovic said after the match. “I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in the sport that has given me and my family so much.”
Playing in front of a who’s who crowd, Djokovic was in his usual dominant form in the first set, never facing a break point, while hitting 12 winners in nine games. Entering Sunday’s final, Djokovic was 72-1 all-time at the US Open when winning the first set, with his only loss coming to Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 final.
The second set proved to be more competitive, as Djokovic and Medvedev exchanged games in a nail-biting back and forth, culminating in the Serb’s 7-5 tiebreak victory after an hour and 45 minutes.
From there, with the momentum in his favor and a fourth US Open title a set away, Djokovic cruised to victory, needing only one championship point to seal the historic title.
With the victory, the 36-year-old becomes oldest man to win the US Open singles title in the Open era and the first man to win three grand slam titles in a season for the fourth time – previously doing so in 2011, 2015 and 2021.
Djokovic also extends his lead over Spaniard Rafael Nadal (22) and Switzerland’s Roger Federer (20) for most men’s singles titles of all time.
“To make history of this sport is truly remarkable and special in every possible and every possible meaning of the word special,” Djokovic said.
Sitting in the front row during the game was Djokovic’s six-year daughter, he said during a news conference after the match, sharing with reporters that she would smile at him when he needed her energy most.
It was important to him that his daughter – as well as his nine-year-old son – got to experience their father win when they were old enough to understand the victory, he said.
And as for what keeps him going, Djokovic said: “I don’t want to leave the sport if I’m still playing at the top.”
Djokovic pays homage to legend with historic win
After his win, an emotional Djokovic momentarily dropped to his hands and knees before walking toward his family in the stands to celebrate.
When he returned to the court, Djokovic honored the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant by changing into a blue shirt bearing a photo of himself and the Lakers legend with the words “Mamba Forever” emblazoned on the front, and the number on the back. Bryant wore the number 24 in the second half of his professional basketball career.
“I thought it could be a nice symbolic thing to acknowledge him,” said Djokovic, who considered Bryant a close friend.
“We chatted a lot about the winner’s mentality when I was struggling with the injury and trying to make my comeback, work my way back to the top of the game,” Djokovic said of his relationship with Bryant.
“He was one of the people that I rely on the most. He was always there for any kind of counsel, advice, any kind of support in the most friendly way.”
Opportunities to make history
He drew level with Rafael Nadal’s 22 grand slam titles at the Australian Open, pulled clear with a men’s record 23 grand slam titles at the French Open and was defeated by Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.
The Serb will have an opportunity to pass Court and etch his name as the all-time winningest player at the Australian Open in January 2024.
CNN’s Eryn Mathewson contributed to this report.