(NEW YORK) — Novak Djokovic won the U.S. Open on Sunday, beating Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.
The three-hour and 17-minute slugfest ended with the Serbian winning 6-3, 7-6 and 6-3.
“It obviously means the world to me. … I have to say it every time — that I’m really living my childhood dream: to compete at the highest level in the sport that has given me and my family so much,” Djokovic said of his win in a post-match interview at center court.
Sunday’s win is the tennis champion’s fourth U.S. Open men’s title.
Djokovic has now matched Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam titles won in the Open era — 24 in all.
Djokovic said Sunday’s win took on an extra special meaning.
During his post-match interview, Djokovic sported a Mamba T-shirt on the court showing him and the late Kobe Bryant.
“Kobe was [a] close friend,” Djokovic said. “We chatted a lot about the winner’s mentality. When I was struggling with the injury and trying to make my comeback, make my way back to the top of the game, he was one of the people I relied on the most. He was always there for any kind of counsel, advice, any kind of support, in the most friendly way.”
Djokovic explained his T-shirt was a way to honor his late friend.
“24 is the jersey that he wore when he became a legend of [the] Lakers and world basketball, so I thought it could be a nice symbolic thing to acknowledge him for all the things he’s done,” he said.
Djokovic missed the U.S. Open last year due to his COVID-19 vaccination status. At the time, the U.S. government did not allow international travelers to come into the U.S. without proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
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