Novak Djokovic's latest grand slam title was a combination of dominance, redemption and history.
Djokovic, the No. 2 ranked tennis player, defeated No. 3 Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the men's singles final of the U.S. Open on Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York to win his 24th grand slam title.
That championship total, which includes victories in this year's Australian Open and French Open that set the men's grand slam victory record, matches the overall record for grand slam singles titles held by Margaret Court.
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“It obviously means the world to me,” said Djokovic, who will return to No. 1 in the rankings on Monday.
Djokovic, in what was his 10th U.S. Open final, won the tournament for the fourth time, but first since 2018. The 36-year-old became the oldest male champion in the open era, topping the previous record set in 1970 by 35-year-old Ken Rosewall.
To match the overall grand slam record, Djokovic had to avenge his 2021 U.S. Open men's final straight-set loss to Medvedev, which denied him the first men's calendar grand slam since Rod Laver won each event in 1969. Medvedev reached Sunday's final after stunning top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. The 27-year-old reached his third U.S. Open final in five years to further cement his status as one of the sport's top hard-court players and set the stage for a rematch with Djokovic.
Djokovic's path to the final included straight-set victories in all but one match, a comeback from two sets down in the third round against No. 32 Laslo Djere.
His straight-set victory over Medvedev included a 104-minute second set, in which Djokovic collapsed to the court out of what appeared to be exhaustion just before Medvedev took a 4-3 advantage. Medvedev came within a point of winning the set before Djokovic forced a tiebreaker, during which he rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to win the marathon set.
He jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set and closed out Medvedev with relative ease to reclaim his crown in New York, where he was not permitted to compete in last year's U.S. Open because he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic now has one more major singles title than Serena Williams to become the first player to win 24 in the Open era, which began in 1968.
When it was over, Medvedev tapped Djokovic on the chest as they chatted at the net. Djokovic flung his racket away, put his arms up and then knelt on the court, with his head bowed. And then the celebration was on. First he found his daughter for a hug. His son and wife came next, along with his team.
Soon, Djokovic was donning a shirt with “24” and “Mamba Forever” written on it as a tribute to the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, who wore that jersey number. And on top of that went a white jacket with the same significant number stamped on the chest.
How many grand slams has Novak Djokovic won?
Djokovic has gone 24-12 in grand slam finals appearances. He has won the U.S. Open four times, the Australian Open 10 times, Wimbledon seven times and the French Open three times.
Here's a look at each of his grand slam victories...
2008 Australian Open - defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2)
2011 Australian Open - defeats Andy Murray, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3
2011 Wimbledon - defeats Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
2011 U.S. Open - defeats Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1
2012 Australian Open - defeats Rafael Nadal, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5
2013 Australian Open - defeats Andy Murray, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2
2014 Wimbledon - defeats Roger Federer, 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4
2015 Australian Open - defeats Andy Murray, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0
2015 Wimbledon - defeats Roger Federer, 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3
2015 U.S. Open - defeats Roger Federer, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
2016 Australian Open - defeats Andy Murray, 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3)
2016 French Open - defeats Andy Murray, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
2018 Wimbledon - defeats Kevin Anderson, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3)
2018 U.S. Open - defeats Juan Martin Del Potro, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3
2019 Australian Open - defeats Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
2019 Wimbledon - defeats Roger Federer, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12
2020 Australian Open - defeats Dominic Thiem, 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
2021 Australian Open - defeats Daniil Medvedev, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
2021 French Open - defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
2021 Wimbledon - defeats Matteo Berrettini, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
2022 Wimbledon - defeats Nick Kyrgios, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3)
2022 Australian Open - defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5)
2022 French Open - defeats Casper Ruud, 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5
2023 U.S. Open - defeats Daniil Medvedev, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3
The Associated Press contributed to this story