Novak Djokovic, who received his fourth US Open and all-time record-equaling twenty fourth Grand Slam title on Sunday, is pushed on by controversy by his willpower to be the best ever.
The Serb’s victory over Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows – his third main triumph of 2023 — took him two Slams away from nice rival Rafael Nadal on the prime of the record of males’s Slam champions.
For 36-year-old Djokovic, it issues to be one of the best, and he has a powerful sense of his historic place in tennis.
He additionally retains ploughing on by the highs and lows as a result of it’s “an important faculty of life.”
“I wish to ship a message to each younger individual on the market. I used to be a seven-year-old dreaming that I may win Wimbledon and be world no.1 sooner or later,” he has stated.
“I’m past grateful however I really feel I had the ability to create my very own future. I consider it and really feel it with each cell in my physique. Be within the current second, neglect concerning the previous. If you need a greater future, you create it.”
Novak Djokovic continues to jot down historical past.@AustralianOpen | @rolandgarros | @Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/RrBFOQdiN6
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2023
But whereas Nadal and now-retired Roger Federer are extensively admired, Djokovic continues to divide opinion.
His staggering achievements on the court docket have usually been overshadowed by blunders and missteps off it.
On the French Open this yr, he wrote “Kosovo is the guts of Serbia” on a courtside TV digital camera lens as ethnic tensions had been once more rising within the Balkans.
On court docket at Roland Garros, he was booed for fist-pumping as semi-final rival Carlos Alcaraz wilted with cramping.
Djokovic stays detached to the critics.
“I don’t thoughts. It’s not the primary; most likely not the final. I’ll simply preserve profitable,” stated Djokovic.
His most controversial second was his refusal to be vaccinated towards COVID-19, which culminated with Djokovic being deported from Melbourne on the eve of the 2022 Australian Open.
His uncompromising stance on the vaccine additionally noticed him barred from the US and unable to play in final yr’s US Open.
Even earlier than that, the Serb was seemingly doomed by no means to be held in the identical saintly esteem as Federer or Nadal, the undisputed folks’s champions.
There are those that see one thing too calculating within the Djokovic make-up — an intense, brooding presence liable to affectation.
His notorious default from the US Open in 2020 for petulantly swiping at a ball that hit a feminine line decide gave a glimpse of his fiery character.
And a few of his private stances have drawn criticism — one declare that raised eyebrows was his perception that it was attainable to change the composition of water and meals by constructive pondering.
Nevertheless, the profession achievements and resolve of a participant who was the primary to smash by the $150 million prize-money barrier can’t be doubted.
“He’s a genius,” Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic stated Sunday. “He’s one in every of form. Not too many individuals on this world like him, sport-wise.
“He’s a born winner. For him, whenever you inform him he can’t do one thing, it’s even worse. Then he’s going to point out you that he can do it.
“It’s no excuses. He at all times attempt to discover a means tips on how to win, tips on how to combat, even when he’s not feeling nicely, injured, not injured.”
Djokovic, who left Belgrade when he was 12 to coach in Munich and escape NATO’s bombardment of his dwelling metropolis, captured the primary of his 24 majors on the Australian Open in 2008.
It was three years earlier than he added his second.
He dropped gluten from his food plan, his lithe physique permitting him to chase down misplaced causes, reworking him into the rubber man of tennis with a rock-steady protection.
In 2011 he loved a spectacular yr, profitable three of 4 Slams and turning into world primary for the primary time.
In complete, he has 10 Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons, 4 US Open titles and three French Opens. He’s the one man to win all 4 majors at the very least thrice.
His assortment of 39 Masters titles can be a document as is his 389 weeks spent as world primary.
And time seems to be on his aspect within the quest to be thought of the best.
Federer is retired now whereas Nadal, 37, is sitting out the remainder of the season because of a hip damage which could nicely see him completely sidelined.
Djokovic additionally exhibits few indicators of dropping his bodily edge — 12 of his 24 Grand Slams have come after he turned 30.
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