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Novak Djokovic’s 24th grand slam title ‘is one of the biggest achievements in sports history,’ says coach

There was almost a sense of inevitability when Novak Djokovic won the US Open final on Sunday.

The Serb had certainly been tested by opponent Daniil Medvedev but was once again just too strong, too sharp and too determined in comparison.

His reaction immediately after winning match point was somewhat muted, perhaps the result of an exhausting encounter inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium, though all his passion came through when he celebrated with friends and family in the stands.

They were celebrations fit for the occasion: Djokovic has not only won three out of the four grand slams this year, but also equalled Margaret Court’s record of 24 major singles titles.

Djokovic’s coach, grand slam champion Goran Ivanišević, has been a member of the 36-year-old’s inner circle since 2019 and he heaped praise on Djokovic’s record-equalling achievement.

“He is a genius. He is one of a kind. There are not too many people in this world like him, sports wise,” Ivanišević told reporters after the final on Sunday.

“This is one of the biggest achievements in sports history, not just tennis.”

‘A winner’

If Djokovic winning in New York felt inevitable, so too does the possibility of him winning another grand slam before he retires.

One more crown would put him clear of Court’s long-standing record and would further cement his place among the greatest players in history.

Djokovic seemingly has no plans of hanging up his racket anytime soon and Ivanišević insists his player still has the desire to compete at the highest level.

“He is a winner. He’s the guy who is motivating himself,” he added.

“He had luck to have guys like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, they came before him, so they pushed each other.

“When you tell him he cannot do something, it’s even worse. Then he’s going to show you that he can do it. No excuses.

“He always tries to find a way how to win, how to fight, even when he’s not feeling well, injured, not injured.”

Despite winning in straight sets on Sunday, Djokovic didn’t always look entirely in control.

He admitted himself that Medvedev probably played better in the second set and arguably deserved to win it.

But, when it really mattered in the second set tie-break, Djokovic found those extra inches which make him such a dangerous man in those clutch moments.

Once the second set was tied up, Djokovic looked reenergised and battled through to yet another memorable win.

When asked by reporters about his ability to always find another level, Djokovic referred to his upbringing in war-torn Serbia as inspiration.

“The odds were pretty much against me and my family, but, you know, we did it,” he said after his US Open victory.

“I say ‘we’ because I owe a lot to my family, to my parents who sacrificed so much for me to be here. And that’s not a cliché. I really mean it.

“It was extremely, extremely difficult with lots of adversities that they had to face and atrocities that when you think about it, you know, the last thing you want to think about is supporting maybe your child in an expensive sport.

“So reflecting on the whole journey, it’s been an incredible, incredible ride that we all can be very proud of.”

More records to come

Retirement, he says, is far from his mind, and who can blame him?

Despite being a veteran on tour, he is still head and shoulders above most of the competition and continues to look after his mind and body.

It’s the challenge of constantly adapting his game which keeps the fire burning.

“That’s why LeBron James still keeps going at his age, or Tom Brady, you know, greats like that, that are inspiring,” he said.

“That’s basically it. You know, it’s a constant evolving process of me trying to implement certain things that will give me an edge over the young guns.

He added: “I don’t want to leave this sport if I’m still at the top, you know, if I’m still playing the way I’m playing.”

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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