Novak Djokovic wins 3rd US Open title

11 September, 2018, 04:28 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • No doubts anymore Novak Djokovic has returned to tennis elite

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in NY.

Djokovic pulled into a tie with American Pete Sampras on the all-time men's leaderboard in majors and now only trails his two contemporaries and greatest rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

When he swept to the 2009 title in NY, he was just 20 years old and expected to establish himself as a permanent rival to Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.

Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory at the US Open. I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.

We started the tournament by asking the question as to whether the new wave of rising stars on the men's tour could finally start to make their mark on the Grand Slams.

The 31-year-old, who triumphed in NY in 2011 and 2015, sealed his third title at the final Slam of the year with a hard-earned straight-sets win over the Argentine.

Former world number one Djokovic equalled Pete Sampras' haul of 14 slams after outlasting Del Potro 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to lift the trophy for a third time in NY.

The 20-year-old Naomi Osaka has been a rising talent for several years, with her forehand known as a major weapon, but, under the guidance of Serena Williams' former hitting partner Sascha Bajin, Osaka has become a much more rounded player and someone able to handle the big occasion with ice-cool calm. But also I think we are proud to be close to these legends. "But at the same time, life showed me that it takes time for good things, it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place, so you can centre yourself, balance yourself and thrive". It's wonderful. I don't feel sad that I couldn't win Grand Slams because of them. When they shout "Ole, ole, ole, ole", that's what I hear.

On Sunday, it was Novak Djokovic.

For Djokovic, it was an illustration of him growing into the championships as he took his run of consecutive sets won to 14, stretching back to the second round against Tennys Sandgren. He was drained from 3 hours, 16 minutes trying to find weaknesses in perhaps the best defender in tennis, especially after losing the 22-point, 20-plus minute game in the second set that was the match's pivotal moment.

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Eventually, the Serb held. "The last two months have been terrific".

But in 2018 - after skipping the tournament in 2017 - he was up against Juan Martin del Potro who was caught somewhere in between Federer 2015 to Wawrinka 2016. He had all but deflated.

"There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder with Sampras", Djokovic said.

On court, the match was defined by its many long rallies and impossibly powerful groundstrokes.

Del Potro, seeded third, was appearing in the second Grand Slam final of his career nine years after reaching his first.

Del Potro admitted to nearly quitting tennis in 2015, when he underwent the last of his four wrist surgeries.

With the quality of tennis only on the rise, the noise level inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium was deafening.

Even with Sunday's disappointing result, del Potro's performance in New York City was laudatory given what the Argentine has gone through since his triumph at the U.S. Open in 2009.

Djokovic and del Potro exchanged a hug, as per usual in their tussles. His eyes were still red when he spoke to reporters later. "That's what I got from them".

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