Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev on Sunday in straight sets at the U.S. Open to capture his 24th Grand Slam title, breaking a tie with Serena Williams for the most in the Open Era. Margaret Court also won 24, but 13 of her wins were before pros were part of Slam tournaments.
The 36-year-old Serb became the oldest man to win the U.S. Open three months after he was the oldest man to win the French Open. It was his fourth title in 10 Open finals and goes with 10 Australian Open wins, seven at Wimbledon and three at Roland Garros. In the post-match trophy presentation, Djokovic donned a shirt with “24” and “Mamba Forever” that included a photo of him and Kobe Bryant, who wore the number during the second half of his basketball career.
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“I never imagined that I would be standing here with you talking about 24 Slams,” Djokovic said after the match. “I never thought that would be the reality, but the last couple of years I felt I have a chance, I have a shot at history, and why not grab it if it’s presented.”
Sunday’s final was a rematch of the 2021 U.S. Open final, when Medvedev captured his lone Slam title in a straight sets victory while Djokovic was attempting to capture the first men’s calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
Djokovic earned $3 million for the Open win, same as Coco Gauff’s check for securing the women’s crown. His career prize money of $175.3 million is more than $40 million ahead of Rafael Nadal, who ranks second all time.
Djokovic will return to the No. 1 ranking next week, extending his own record at the top spot to 390 weeks—Roger Federer is second at 310 weeks while Steffi Graf is first among women at 377. Djokovic finishes 2023 with a 27-1 record at the Slam events, with the only blemish his finals loss at Wimbledon to Carlos Alcaraz, who Medvedev defeated in the semifinals to thwart a much-anticipated U.S. Open final. This is the fourth year—joining 2011, 2015 and 2021—that Djokovic won three Slams in one year.
Alcaraz won last year’s Open when Djokovic did not enter the event due to the U.S. policy to bar any foreigners who were not vaccinated against COVID-19—Novak also missed the 2022 Australian Open.
The Big Three of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer has won 66 of the past 80 Grand Slam events since Federer captured the 2004 Australian Open. But Djokovic has separated himself in the race to be crowned the sport’s G.O.A.T., with Nadal at 22 Slams and Roger Federer at 20. Federer retired last year, and Nadal has been sidelined most of 2023 with injuries and is expected to retire next year. Djokovic appears as strong as ever, winning seven of the last 10 Slams that he has entered.
He is not ready to fade into the sunset either. “Age is just a number, that phrase is resonating at the moment with me,” Djokovic said Friday after beating 20-year-old Ben Shelton in the semifinals. “I don’t want to even consider, you know, leaving tennis or thinking about an end if I’m still at the top of the game.”
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