NEW YORK—Two years ago today, Novak Djokovic was reduced to tears on Arthur Ashe Stadium after seeing his calendar Grand Slam dreams slip away in straight sets at the hands of Daniil Medvedev and feeling the overwhelming reception of the Flushing Meadows crowd. He never got his chance for redemption in 2022, after being barred from competing in the United States due to the country’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.

On Sunday, Djokovic got his redemption served with a side of revenge as he outlasted No. 3 seed Medvedev in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the US Open final after battling for over three hours and 17 minutes.

Having already surpassed Big 3 rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam race, Djokovic’s victory writes his name into the tennis history books once again as he ties Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major titles.

"I said on the court that my childhood goal was to win Wimbledon and be No. 1 in the world, and when I realized that, then obviously I had to set new goals," Djokovic reflected in his post-match press conference. "...I don't put any number right now in my mind on how many Slams I want to win until the end of my career. I don't really have any number."

The reigning Australian Open and Roland Garros champion is now also the first man to win three Grand Slam titles in the same season four times—a feat he accomplished in 2011, 2015 and 2021—and, at 36 years old, he also became the oldest US Open men’s champion in the Open Era, surpassing Australian great Ken Rosewall, who lifted the trophy at 35 in 1970.

He was once again reduced to tears—this time, in celebration—as he fell to the court in victory, before joining his family for an emotional celebration. After returning to his chair, Djokovic donned a “Mamba Forever” shirt in honor of Kobe Bryant, with the late basketball great’s iconic “24” jersey number printed on the back.

Djokovic improved to 88-13 at the US Open after winning his fourth title in Flushing Meadows, a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam victory.

Djokovic improved to 88-13 at the US Open after winning his fourth title in Flushing Meadows, a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam victory.


With history on the line in almost every match, Djokovic displayed his tactical prowess once again as he neutralized the Medvedev defense using serve-and-volley: He came to net 44 times, winning 84 percent of those points and dropping serve only once in three sets.

Djokovic, who said after the match that he frequently chatted with “close” friend Bryant during his 2018 comeback from injury, drew from his famous “Mamba Mentality” on Sunday—especially in a drawn-out second set that lasted 105 minutes, longer than both players’ first-round matches.

"What probably made the difference and the key of the match was second set, almost two hours," Djokovic said. "I don't think I have ever played a longer set in my life, particularly not on this occasion against a top player like Daniil.

"I think he was probably a better player in the second set. He deserved to win that set more than I did. Somehow I managed to turn things around in the tiebreak. When it mattered I put one ball into play more than he did. And that was enough."

The incoming world No. 1 was in full control from the start of the match, rushing the net early and keeping Medvedev on the run. The Russian is famous for his deep return position—Carlos Alcaraz, the defending champ, said Medvedev could find a passing shot “from his house” after his semifinal defeat—but on Sunday, he might as well have been in the back yard as he retreated even further behind the baseline against Djokovic.


That set up a straightforward plan of attack for the No. 2 seed, who regularly used his powerful serve out wide and followed it up with a sharp volley, closing out the point before Medvedev could find his feet. Djokovic broke serve early for 3-0 and held onto the lead to close out the opening set in 48 minutes.

But he was in for a marathon in the second set, as Medvedev responded by using his rock-solid defending to force his opponent to stay on the run. The 36-year-old was bent over and huffing after several long points, and looked winded after failing to break Medvedev at 3-3 in an over 10-minute game. The next game was even more brutal, and he barely seemed to have the energy to get up to the net—he struck two double faults, his first of the match, before saving break point to stay on serve.

"Second set was the best set I played and I didn't win it," Medvedev said afterward. "So that's why I would say, it's normal that the match went that way, because first and third he was kind of better. Not much to say. Second [set], if I would win it maybe could have been a different game."

Medvedev, who was trying to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same tournament, was unable to capitalize on his chances as he took an early lead in the tiebreak. By the time he erased the minibreak, Djokovic appeared to be recovering his energy—this time, willed on by the effusive crowd on Ashe. He broke serve two more times in the third set, before clinching the victory as a Medvedev forehand sailed into the net.