Novak Djokovic has beaten Argentine tennis player Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6(4) and 6-3 on Sunday with clinical precision to pick up his third U.S. Open title and the fourteenth of his career in a Grand Slam event.
The Serb now shares with Pete Sampras the third place in the list of tennis players with more Grand Slam titles, behind Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17).
A season that began grimly with an elbow surgery after the Australian Open is turning into a brilliant day for the 31-year-old who has now won three of his last four events, including consecutive victories at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.
During the last eight weeks, Djokovic has resembled the tennis player who had simultaneously with the four major Grand Slam titles in 2016.
“When my elbow was operated on earlier this year I could really understand what Juan Martin was going through,” Djokovic said at the awards ceremony, referring to the Argentinian’s long battles with injuries.
“You learn from adversity (…) when you have dubious moments when things don’t work the way you want,” he added.
The sixth prequalified had suffered from ferocious heat and humidity during the early days of the last Grand Slam of the season but only fell in two sets of the tournament and none from the second round.
Playing on the same pitch where Pete Sampras claimed his 14th and final Grand Slam, Djokovic had previously seen more disappointment than joy at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, where he had only won three titles in eight finals.
“I had hoped he would be here tonight, but I want to say ‘Pete, I love you, you’re my idol,'” the Serb said.
Sunday’s disappointment belonged to the third-placed South American, who returned to a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning his only Flushing Meadows title in 2009.
“It’s not easy to talk now. But I love them too,” he told the crowd. “I’m happy to have played the final against a magnificent idol. He’s one of my great friends,” he added.