The Serb captured his 24th grand slam title at the US Open on Sunday. His skills do not appear to be on the wane as he approaches his late 30s
Novak Djokovic is his sport’s most stubborn obstacle – a great wall of skill, cunning and grit. And yet there were times in the US Open final on Sunday when it appeared he might actually yield as he stood hunched over, banging on his thighs in a bid to jumpstart his legs. At one point during a torturously long second set against Daniil Medvedev – “the hardest physically grueling set I’ve had to play,” he told CBS on Monday – Djokovic was scrambling so hard to catch up with the Russian’s groundstrokes that he lost his grip and his racket went flying. When Medvedev took his own tumble and lay on the ground to catch himself, Djokovic crossed the net to check on him. Before offering Medvedev a helping hand, it seemed like Djokovic might want to lie down next to his opponent to catch a breath.
On paper, Djokovic’s straight sets victory over Medvedev makes it look like becoming the oldest US Open winner was a breeze. But in reality he couldn’t wait for it to be over. “That’s why I didn’t celebrate maybe as I did in Roland Garros or fall to the floor or jump out of joy,” he said after the final. “I was just so relieved when I saw his forehand in the net.”