World number one Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in four dramatic sets to win his second US Open and 10th Grand Slam title.
Djokovic appeared to be all alone out there in Arthur Ashe Stadium, trying to solve Federer while also dealing with a crowd loudly supporting the 17-time major champion proclaimed “arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport” during prematch introductions.
In the end, Djokovic handled everything in a thrill-a-minute final on a frenetic night. Thwarting Federer with his relentless defense and unparalleled returning, Djokovic took control late and held on for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory Sunday to earn his second U.S. Open title, third major championship of the year and 10th Grand Slam trophy in all.
“We pushed each other to the limit,” the No. 1-ranked Djokovic said, “as we always do.”
Djokovic, who is 63-5 in 2015, including 27-1 at majors, said he understood why the crowd backed Federer but hopes to someday get that sort of support.
“You do let sometimes certain things to distract you,” Djokovic said about interacting with the fans. “But it’s important to get back on the course and go back to basics and why you are there and what you need to do.”
Certainly was able to do that.
Djokovic took another step towards joining the very best in history with a 10th major title, moving him within one of Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver in the all-time list.
Defeat by Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final in June means the Serb was just one win short of completing the first calendar Grand Slam in men’s tennis since Laver in 1969.
Most Grand Slam titles
|17: Roger Federer|
|14: Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal|
|12: Roy Emerson|
|11: Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg|
|10: Bill Tilden, Novak Djokovic|
After all the attention paid to Serena Williams’ bid for the first calendar-year Grand Slam, which ended with a semifinal loss at the U.S. Open, it’s Djokovic who reached all four finals. He beat Andy Murray at the Australian Open in January, lost to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open in June, then beat Federer at Wimbledon in July.
The 28-year-old from Serbia also won a trio of majors in 2011 — including his only other title in New York in five previous finals — and his career total ranks tied for seventh-most in history behind Federer.
Djokovic evened his head-to-head record with Federer at 21-all. They have met in three of the last six Grand Slam finals, and Djokovic is 3-0 in those. It is as spectacular a rivalry as there is in tennis right now, with contrasting styles of play.
“Being back in a final is where you want to be,” said Federer, who owns five U.S. Open titles but last played for the championship in 2009. “Playing a great champion like Novak is a massive challenge.”
His coach, Stefan Edberg, figures an 18th major title is still not out of reach, even though no one Federer’s age has won the U.S. Open since 1970.
“You still cannot count him out,” Edberg said. “If he keeps playing at this level, he’ll get another shot.”