It was an electrifying Sunday as tennis superstar Novak Djokovic walked into a jam-packed Arthur Ashe Stadium. His eyes met those of Daniil Medvedev, who was once again the only obstacle in his path toward tennis immortality. Let’s not forget that it was Medvedev who shattered Djokovic’s dreams of a calendar Grand Slam in the same arena back in 2021. The atmosphere was tense, the stakes sky-high.
The Battle Unfolds: A First Set in Record Time
As the duo engaged in groundstrokes and volleys, it was Djokovic who drew first blood. A double fault from Medvedev and an awe-inducing backhand winner from Djokovic took him to an early break point, which he seized to claim the first set in just 48 minutes. It felt like Djokovic was not just playing against Medvedev but also racing against history itself.
The Marathon Second Set: A War of Attrition
The match’s pivotal moment came in a grueling second set that lasted a jaw-dropping 104 minutes longer than either of the players’ entire first-round matches.
That was probably the hardest – physically grueling set – I’ve ever played.
Medvedev, standing far behind the baseline as he returned, made Djokovic work for every point. Yet the Serbian’s tactical change, a risky yet rewarding volley strategy, paid off as he weathered Medvedev’s storms to win the tie-break.
Match Stats Breakdown
|1st Serve Win %
|2nd Serve Win %
|Net Points Won
|Break Points Won
|Total Points Won
Medvedev’s Take: Respect and a Dash of Humor
After the match, a visibly emotional Medvedev jokingly addressed Djokovic.
First of all, I want to ask Novak what are you still doing here? I mean come on. I don’t know when you’re planning to slow down a little bit.
His jest underscored Djokovic’s seemingly age-defying abilities.
Honoring Kobe Bryant: A Special Tribute by Djokovic
Djokovic, draped in a tracksuit top displaying the number 24 and ‘Mamba Forever’, paid homage to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The number 24 jersey was emblematic, not just as Kobe’s number, but as Djokovic’s historic 24th Grand Slam, equalling Margaret Court’s all-time record.
By winning his 24th Grand Slam, Djokovic, now 36, not only equaled Margaret Court’s all-time record but also became the oldest US Open champion in the Open Era. The Serb’s voracious appetite for victory, resilience, and adaptability stand as a testament to his greatness.
A Look Back and Ahead: Djokovic’s Journey
With this win, Djokovic has further distanced himself from rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who have 22 and 20 Grand Slams respectively. Federer retired last year, and Djokovic now sits comfortably atop the men’s tennis world, setting new records and showing no signs of slowing down.
It was a historic day for tennis, and as Djokovic himself said:
When I was struggling with injury he [Kobe] was one of the people I relied on the most. I thought 24 is the jersey that he wore when he became a legend of Lakers and world basketball.
It’s safe to say that, like Kobe, Djokovic too has become a legend in his own right.