In a stunning display of talent and tenacity, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic (36) claimed his 24th Grand Slam title on Sunday, defeating Russian player Daniil Medvedev in a dramatic U.S. Open men’s singles final.
Even though the match was decided in straight sets, Djokovic beat Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Sunday night at Flushing Meadows Park in New York City.
Djokovic’s victory over Medvedev is not just another Grand Slam win; it is a historic achievement. By claiming his 24th Grand Slam title, Djokovic surpasses the previous record held by Serena Williams, solidifying his status as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. This milestone is even more significant considering that Djokovic achieved it in the Open era, which began in 1968.
“To make the history of this sport is something truly remarkable and special,” Djokovic said during the trophy ceremony. “I never imagined that I would be here talking about 24 Slams. I never thought that would be the reality, but the last couple of years I felt I have a chance, I have a shot at history—and why not grab it if it’s presented.”
“It obviously means the world to me,” he added.
From the US Open:
In a roller-coaster match, Djokovic went from clinical to clinging on as he battled through fatigue and saved a set point in a 104-minute second set. After fighting off Medvedev’s first two break points of the match, Djokovic brought his very best in the tiebreak—in which he lost three lung-busting, extended rallies but won a fourth to spark the three-point run that snatched the set.
There was an entirely different feel in set three, as Djokovic emerged fresher with the title in sight. He broke in consecutive return games—either side of Medvedev’s first break of the match—and clinched his fourth US Open crown soon after.
While Medvedev did not have the elite serving day that helped him beat Carlos Alcaraz in the semis, the third seed was once again brilliant from the baseline, constantly testing Djokovic with incredible depth and persistent power. Still, Djokovic remained in control for the first set-and-a-half, expertly redirecting Medvedev’s best attacks and working the sidelines to great effect.
The Serb did not face a break point until he fought off one at 3-4 and another at 5-6 in the second set. Late in the frame and in the crucial tiebreak, Medvedev took some pace of his strokes in an apparent effort to attack Djokovic’s legs. The tactic worked as he won three rallies of 17 balls or more in the breaker, but Djokovic won a 21-ball exchange to level at 5-5 before a big serve and a Medvedev backhand error ended the set.
Despite his phyiscal struggles, including repeated stumbles after misses and stretching in between points, Djokovic still managed to hang with Medvedev blow for blow. Some of the highest-stakes points of the match were also some of the highest-quality exchanges, with both players pumping up the Ashe crowd as they took turns winning thrilling all-court rallies.
The third set flashed by in 45 minutes, less than half the time of the second frame, with Djokovic winning two more lengthy rallies in the final game as a final stamp of authority.
Rather than relying on his renowned baseline play throughout the match, Djokovic repeatedly attacked the net to counter Medvedev’s deep returning position, winning 20 of 22 serve-and-volley points and 37 of 44 net points in total.
Following his win, Djokovic paid tribute to late Kobe Bryant.
Novak hits 24 and pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant 💙 pic.twitter.com/rDXVUvYe1Z
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2023
Novak shares the idea behind his tribute to Kobe 🗣 pic.twitter.com/aFd7xStqVx
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2023
The win is especially notable as Djokovic has been a key figure off the court for his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and his non-compliance with some of the unconstitutional protocols that have been put in place by sports authorities and governments.
In 2022, the tennis superstar was barred from entering the United States for refusing to comply to get vaccinated. The World No.1 tennis champion announced that he could not compete at the U.S. Open in California and Florida because the Brandon regime would not allow him to travel to the United States due to his vaccination status.
The US Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Novak Djokovic would not be allowed to compete because the organization would adhere to the guidelines set forth by the US government on the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the organization stated, “The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens.”
According to CDC, “noncitizens who are nonimmigrants and seeking to enter the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from a foreign country.”
“If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will NOT be allowed to board a flight to the United States, unless you meet the criteria for an exception under the Proclamation and CDC’s Amended Order. A booster dose is not needed to meet this requirement,” the agency continued.
Djokovic criticized the US policy and the organization’s decision to ban unvaccinated players, calling it a “political” decision.
“No unvaccinated people can enter the USA as of this moment. I did hear unofficially that some people got away with it, some people who are not ‘famous’, but I would never even try to go to the USA if it is not allowed,” Express reported.
“What he said makes total sense – if unvaccinated players are not allowed to compete at the US Open, then it should be the case for everyone.
“I don’t see the medical logic behind it, that Tennys can play because he is a citizen of the USA, and I cannot. If I had a US passport or a green card, I would be able to play.
“Maybe there is a political logic behind it – not medical – but I would rather not get into that and you can understand why,” Djokovic said.
According to the US Open, “Following his victory in his record 36th major singles final, Djokovic is now the first man to win three Grand Slams singles titles in a season four times (2011, 2015, 2021, 2023). That number of finals also matches the Serb’s age; at 36, he is the oldest US Open men’s singles champion in the Open Era. He is 12-3 in Grand Slam finals in his 30s, bettering a 12-9 mark his 20s.”