US Open champion Djokovic: ‘I owe Federer, Nadal’

From 1,042 to US Open final del Potro relishes return to Grand Slam title match

Novak Djokovic was thrilled to match Pete Sampras with a 14th Grand Slam title at the US Open, but he said it's Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who have made him the player he is.

Even with Sunday's disappointing result, del Potro's performance in New York City was laudatory given what the Argentinian has gone through since his triumph at the US Open in 2009.

Djokovic tied Pete Sampras for third place on the all-time Grand Slam list with 14.

Djokovic is one of only seven players in the sport's history to achieve double figures in terms of grand slam titles, yet remarkably one of three who continue to play today.

That put the 29-year-old Argentine back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since his breakthrough nine years ago, a comeback for a guy who had four wrist operations in the interim.

A visit to the court from tournament referee Brian Earley and grand slam supervisor Donna Kelso failed to diffuse the situation and, having led 3-1 in the second set, a rattled Williams lost it completely as she went down 4-3.

After taking just two points off Del Potro's first three service games, Djokovic, in his 23rd final at the majors, pounced to break for 5-3.

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".

All that frustration was washed away when he struck the overhead victor to clinch victory over Del Potro, Djokovic falling to his back, arms and legs spread savouring the moment. He almost quit tennis in 2015, after four wrist surgeries that wouldn't let him regain the form that carried him past Roger Federer to win the 2009 U.S. Open. I thought of tennis, thought of the emotion that tennis provokes in me.

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Naomi Osaka won the women's singles title at the U.S. Open.

Djokovic captured the first of his 12 majors in Melbourne in 2008, but it was three years before he added his second.

The sixth seed had suffered in the ferocious heat and humidity through the early days of the season's final Grand Slam but dropped only two sets for the tournament and none since the second round.

Del Potro, a sentimental favorite after nearly retiring in 2015 due to four wrist surgeries, couldn't overcome Djokovic's steely baseline game. "Now I have a feeling he's [catching] up with them", Vajda continued, slapping the back of his right hand on his left palm for emphasis. "I'm sad because I lose but I'm happy for Novak".

'I think we have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other.

Djokovic said: "If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I'll win Wimbledon, US Open, and Cincinnati (becoming the first man to win all the Masters titles), it would be hard to believe".

In the category that it doesn't matter how old one is, but rather how young they feel and can perform, the 31-year-old Djokovic is the ninth consecutive player over-30 to win the men's title at a Slam.

In all, the second set was a lengthy 95-minutes before ending for Djokovic in the tiebreaker, and saw both players leave the court for a change of clothes at its conclusion.

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