Novak Djokovic offered another powerful reminder Sunday that, when it comes to Grand Slam tennis, he is not going anywhere.
Djokovic clinched his third US Open title on Sunday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 triumph over del Potro, taking him level with Pete Sampras's mark of 14 Grand Slams.
"Of course he can", said Del Potro when asked if Djokovic can claim the record over Federer who is nearly six years his senior. Djokovic comes to net early in the point and looks to put away a volley, but Djokovic catches it and shoots it back for a forehand cross-court victor, staking him another break point! Djokovic, who won Wimbledon in July, now has three U.S. Open titles and 14 Grand Slam titles in his career, tying him with American Pete Sampras for third place all time.
Djokovic and Del Potro walked onto Arthur Ashe Stadium court with the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center still buzzing over the controversial women's final on Saturday, won by Japan's Naomi Osaka after Serena Williams incurred three code violations. The U.S. Open championship took his resurgence a step further.
'I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.
Top-seeded Nadal had been favored to win this tournament from the start.
Having struggled earlier in the year, Djokovic put injury behind him and found the form that saw him become one of the game's greatest in recent years.
Some strong showings at the U.S. Open helped several men achieve career-best rankings, including Borna Coric to No. 18, Karen Khachanov to No. 25 and John Millman - who upset Federer - to No. 37.
Djokovic, the No. 6 seed, missed this tournament a year ago as he struggled with an elbow injury that ultimately required surgery.
Del Potro, 29, won the only Grand Slam title of his career by upsetting Federer in NY in 2009, but couldn't swing the upset Sunday.
"I've been during all my career learning with Novak, Roger, Rafa, seeing them winning these events very often. We just isolated ourselves and took things from a different perspective". He was drained from 3 hours, 16 minutes trying to find weaknesses in perhaps the best defender in tennis, especially after losing the 22-point, 20-plus minute game in the second set that was the match's pivotal moment. Delpo then pushes a backhand wide for game point, but Djokovic mixes in his first double fault of the match for either player to deuce.
"When 2-0, the approach to the match and the third set changes, so in the third I felt that I was much closer to winning even when I returned the break".