Djokovic is already a legend, but a few more injury-free years could see him become the world’s greatest-ever player.
A crestfallen Roger Federer has brushed aside talks of retirement, insisting that he will return to the US Open next year despite losing the pulsating finale against Novak Djokovic on Sunday. It was a tough one tonight.
“We got to double digits now, and I’m flattered and honored to be a part of an elite group of players”, Djokovic said. Coming on court knowing you are playing against probably the best player in the game adds a little bit more pressure.
Another key statistic: Djokovic won 10 of the first 12 points that lasted at least 10 strokes, a pattern that repeated itself throughout the evening.
Djokovic acknowledged the antipathy he received from the New York crowd was a distraction and over the course of three hours and 20 minutes “you do have some ups and downs in concentration”. “These achievements are incentive for me to keep going”.
Djokovic got the break he needed when Federer, up 30-0, make three straight errors and Djokovic took the next two points.
The 34-year-old put a positive spin on his loss. “I have achieved a lot so far in the season, and I hope I can deliver the same game for the rest of the year”.
Turned out, he said, a member of his entourage accidentally grabbed the keys while gathering Djokovic’s bags. “My game is moving in the right direction thanks to a great team”.
From the moment they finally started, it was clear that each had brought his best tennis.
In doing so, the Djokovic has broken his own record of the most amount of prize money won in a single year.
With no young superstars in the rear view and his main competitors on the downside of their careers, there would appear to be a major opening for Djokovic to have a run like Federer did a decade ago-albeit at the end of his prime, not the beginning. It was also the first time that Djokovic reached the finals of all four Majors in his career.
Djokovic saved several break points against Federer in the fourth set that would have evened the match out and potentially sent it to a deciding fifth set, so maybe he needed to channel his inner King Leonidas to ensure victory. This was only the third time that Federer had been broken throughout the championship.
Federer was then broken in the next game to trail 4-5 on a backhand wide.
Federer had two opportunities to break in Djokovic’s first service game in the third set, but failed.