Novak Djokovic Ties Margaret Court With 24 Majors: How Many More Will He Add?

Move over Margaret Court, you’ve got company.

Exactly 50 years to the day after Court won her 24th major title at the U.S. Open in 1973, Novak Djokovic has tied her atop the all-time standings with his 24th Grand Slam crown — further solidifying his status as the GOAT of men’s tennis.

His 24 is one more than Serena Williams, two more than Rafael Nadal and four more than Roger Federer.

The 36-year-old Serb and No. 2 seed fought off fatigue and a sore right shoulder to win a slugfest with No. 3 seed and 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev, 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3, closing it out on match point when Medvedev smacked a forehand into the net. Soon he donned a blue “Mamba Forever” T-shirt with a picture of himself and Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic became the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion in history while winning his fourth crown in New York alongside six losses in the final. He has won three of the four majors in 2023, and will return to No. 1 in the world on Monday.

Djokovic’s win came in front of some 24,000 fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium, including Leo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Matthew McConaughey, Sting, Jerry Seinfeld and Christie Brinkley.

“To make the history of this sport is something truly remarkable and special…it’s hard to describe in words,” he said. “I had a childhood dream when I was 7 or 8. I wanted to become the best player in the world and win the Wimbledon trophy — that was the only thing I wanted. But I started to dream new dreams and set new goals.

“I never imagined that I would be sitting here with you 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 so why not grab it if it’s presented.”

Medvedev had stunned No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in a four-set semifinal Friday night to upend plans for the “dream final” between Alcaraz and Djokovic. Alcaraz handed Djokovic his only loss in a major this year came in a five-set Wimbledon epic.

Djokovic, whom John McEnroe called “maybe the most techincally proficient player in history,” shows no signs of his assault on the record books either, with Brad Gilbert speculating he could pile up another half dozen or so more — bringing him in the neighborhood of an unimaginable 30 Slams.

“He’s got 12 more Slams to play at the highest level, I think he could win 5-7,” Gilbert, who helped coach Coco Gauff to her first major title on Saturday, said ahead of the match.

Said McEnroe: “He’s relentless in his quest to separate himself from the all-time greats.”

Even Medvedev had to joke about Djokovic’s continued dominance.

“What is it our third final?” he asked Djokovic on court. “Maybe not the last, I hope so because you’re probably gonna be in many more.

“I don’t know when are you planning to slow down a little bit but congrats to your team.

“I mean 24. I feel like I have not a bad career and I have 20 titles. You have 24 Grand Slams, wow.”

Djokovic, the father of two who is also leading the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) to improve conditions for lower-ranked players, himself has said he has no plans to slow down in his pursuit of unrivaled history.

And why should he?

He’s been to the finals of 36 of the 72 Gand Slams in which he’s played, including all four this year.

“I don’t want to even consider, you know, leaving tennis or thinking about an end if I’m still at the top of the game,” he said before the final.

“I just don’t see a reason for that. I will probably consider doing that if I get my ass kicked by young guys in the Grand Slams in the years to come in the earlier stages, and then I’ll probably say, okay, maybe it’s time to move on.”

For now, nobody can match him. He returned to the top of the mountain in New York for the first time in five years, largely due to a series of unique and unpredictable circumstances.

Djokovic was defaulted in the fourth round in 2020 after accidentally hitting a lines woman in the neck with a ball.

In 2021, he was thumped in straight sets by Medvedev in the final while dealing with the pressure of trying to capture the first calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic cried after the loss and the crowd embraced him.

And in 2022, he wasn’t allowed into the U.S. due to his vaccination status.

But after all those setbacks, Djokovic continues to mount a one-assault on history and shows no signs of slowing down.

“I still feel that I’m in the game,” he said.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top