From now on, 24 will be the number that every man will dream of. Women had been doing it since the 70s, when Margaret Court, halfway between the non-professional era and the Open Era, placed this legendary record as the most impressive in the Grand Slams. A figure that is now joined by Novak Djokovic, champion in New York by defeating the Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5) and 6-3 and achieving his third ‘major’ of the season.
The Serbian, the oldest champion in the US Open and the only one in history to have won three majors in four consecutive seasons, increases his advantage as the best tennis player in history, and already has two Grand Slams ahead of Rafa Nadal , inactive all year, and four compared to Roger Federer, retired.
At 36 years old, the dominance of Djokovic, who this Monday will once again sit on the throne of number one, is beyond all doubt. He defeated Medvedev, the tennis player with the most victories and titles on cement since 2018, and cemented one more step in his legend. If someone wants to aspire to be the best, they have to surpass Djokovic.
Despite the memory of what happened in 2021, when Djokovic collapsed under the pressure of achieving the big four in the same year, something that only Rod Laver achieved in the 60s, the one from Belgrade played a completely different game to disarm the Medvedev octopus.
His start was overwhelming, with a 3-0 that gave him a comfortable first set and in which he began to glimpse the weapon that would give him the match, the climbs to the net. Taking advantage of how far Medvedev was going to subtract, Djokovic had a lot of advantage to play an open serve and close the point in the net. He did it on numerous occasions, just as he tried to attack the network to avoid falling into endless exchanges. He raised up to 44 times and only lost seven of those raises, a true anomaly in his game, but one that served to defeat Medvedev who was still able to change the match in the second set.
That was the Russian’s set, who deserved much more and it will take him days to forget how he lost it. In the eighth game and after one hour and 44 minutes of play, his first break opportunity was generated, saved with a spectacular early bounce from the Serbian, and from there he began to flirt with the set, to the point of having a chance at rest to write it down. Djokovic, with his tongue hanging out and exhausted – he kept making tired gestures -, held on more out of courage than anything else, and held on until the tie break. There he seemed to falter and Medvedev went 1-3.
The one from Moscow was a handful of points away from making the score 1-1 against a suffocated Djokovic, but he was unable to close and gave the Serbian the opportunity to be alive at 5-5, the moment that changed everything . It could have been a set point for the Russian or the Serbian, but Djokovic placed an unreadable open serve for Medvedev, who, on the next point, already with the abyss in his face, slammed a backhand into the net and said goodbye to the set.
The 2-0 was an impossible stone to lift. Medvedev did not have the strength to get out of his chair after losing an hour and 40 minute split. Djokovic had the final in hand and gave the first blow by taking a 3-1 lead. It was done, but even he gets nervous on these occasions and allowed extra life to the Russian by giving away his next serve. This one was too out already and returned the favor. Djokovic did not forgive anymore. At 5-3 he had his first championship ball and certified one more Grand Slam.
Perhaps that is why he celebrated it without excessive euphoria. At least until he gave Medvedev the protocol hug and curled up on the court. 24 Grand Slams for the Serbian, who no longer has anyone above him, neither man nor woman, and who could be in Australia, within four months, the first person in history to achieve 25.