Standing in Del Potro's way is the great Novak Djokovic
14 September, 2018, 19:07
Injuries have derailed Del Potro's career but the Argentinian was back in a major decider, nine years after claiming the 2009 US Open. He dropped three consecutive games.
"When I had my surgery I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through when he had surgeries that kept him away form the tour for two or three years", added Djokovic. He was, in short, out of sorts.
He had three more chances in the eighth, all saved by Djokovic in a marathon 20-minute game which left even Hollywood superstar Meryl Streep clasping her head in astonishment.
Between them, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 47 of the last 55 slam titles, but Del Potro has no regrets, saying: "It is a big challenge to take these kind of tournaments from them". Three times, Djokovic steeled himself.
"I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am".
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with his wife Jelena Djokovic after winning his men's Singles finals match.
Novak Djokovic won the U.S. Open on Sunday, the 14th Grand Slam title of his career.
"I'm very sad for being a loser today but Novak deserved to take the trophy", said Del Potro, who wept into his hands before being comforted by Djokovic.
"They were hard times, but you learn from adversity. The last two months have been terrific".
In New York, while some of his fiercest rivals fell by the wayside over a bruis- ing fortnight, Djokovic did not let the intense heat or any of his opponents push him off his path to a third title at Flushing Meadows.
"I want to say Pete, I love you, you're my idol", said Djokovic of Sampras.
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This is Djokovic's second straight grand slam singles title this season following Wimbledon 2018. "I don't know when will be my last tournament in this career, but I'm excited to keep surprising myself doing things like this".
It was Djokovic's 15th win over the Del Potro and fifth in five at the Slams.
Those produce free points against so many foes.
"I was so close to the desired level, and then I completely underplayed that match". I think we have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other.
The final set began in the same vein as the first two, Djokovic gaining first blood with a break in game four, and although Del Potro managed to hit straight back, he could do little to halt the relentless pressure from the sixth seed. This is the healthiest and fittest Del Potro has felt in years.
Djokovic occasionally seemed annoyed by the support with the noise as British umpire Alison Hughes had to constantly plead with the crowd to remain quiet during points. Del Potro would not rue how many of those could have been his had he been injury-free all those years. It all bothered Djokovic, who started yelling and gesturing toward the seats.
While Streep was beside herself, Jerry Seinfeld had more of a skeptical look.
While Simona Halep of Romania retained her top spot on the list, Germany?s Angelique Kerber moved one spot up to acquire the third position.
"I was very, very disappointed with my performance that day", Djokovic recalled Sunday, explaining that he went hiking in the mountains in France to clear his head after that setback.
"Difficult times but you learn from adversity".
"There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder in terms of Grand Slam wins with him".
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