(September 13, 2015) Novak Djokovic entered the rarified air of the double-digit Grand Slam club on Sunday night when he defeated all-time major titles leader Roger Federer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to win his second US Open title to raise his total of majors to ten. He is now seventh on the all-time majors list.
For Djokovic it was his third major title of the year, winning the Australian and Wimbledon titles earlier in the year. The Serbian became just the second player to win three majors in a year multiple times, he also did it in 2011. His opponent on Sunday, Roger Federer won three majors in 2004, 2006 and 2007. He has now evened his head-to-head record against the Swiss at 21-21.
Djokovic, 27-1 in majors this year, had his only loss come in the final of the French Open to another Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
Djokvic called it “an incredible season.”
“I have a tremendous respect for Roger and what his game is presenting to me and to any other player,” the 28-year-old Serbian said during the trophy presentation. “His level is always going to (get) the best out of you and that was needed from my side.”
“Being back in a final is where you want to be,” said Federer, who was playing his first US Open final since 2009. “Playing a great champion like Novak is a massive challenge.”
The start of the match was delayed by rain by three hours. Next year the US Open will have completed the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, so rain delays will not be an issue.
In addition to having to battle the 34-year-old 17-time major champion on the court, Djokovic had to contend with a very pro-Federer crowd.
In the third game of the first set, Djokovic fell on the court scraping skin off his hand, arm and knee. Yet he managed to do what few could during the fortnight against Federer – break his serve multiple times.
Federer’s 15 errors contributed to his demise in the first set.
In the second set, Federer appeared to be hitting the ball with more aggression. Federer won the set 7-5 breaking Djokovic’s serve after not taking advantage his first three set points in the 10th game.
The third set saw the momentum swing permanently, the world No 1’s way. Federer had two break points to go up 5-3 and failed to convert on either point. In the ninth game, Djokovic broke Federer’s serve for 5-4 and closed out the set to take a two sets to one lead.
The fourth set saw Djokovic break Federer twice to serve for the match at 5-2. Federer broke back and held for 4-5 and had break points again, Djokovic held him off for game, set and match.
Federer was 4 four for 23 on break point chances and hit 54 unforced errors. Total points won – Djokovic 147, Federer 145.
A bit of history was made in the umpire’s chair as Eva Asderaki-Moore became the first woman to officiate a US Open men’s singles final.
“I am very disappointed,” Federer said to media. “I had my chances on my racquet. I should never been down in the score the way I was. But Novak did a great job of fending them off, and, you know, all of that.
“It was a tough night, but still, I don’t know, thrilling at the same time.”
Reflecting on his season Federer said: “I am playing a good year, you know. I’m playing good tennis. I am happy with where my level is at. I’m able to be, you know, consistent, very consistent.
“I’m able to beat the best players regularly. Cincinnati obviously was a great feeling beating world No. 1 and world No. 2 in the same week. I don’t think I have done that before.
“And then of course it’s also disappointment. Lost too many times in finals. But at the same time, I did win my tournaments, the ones I was supposed to. The one I got I was very got happy the way I was playing. Year’s not over yet. I usually do have a strong finishes to the season, and I hope I can do that again.”
“I definitely am very proud of all of the achievements,” djokovic said. Winning Grand Slam is very special for any tennis player when you are dreaming of becoming a professional tennis player. When you are kind of finding that inspiration, motivation, these are the tournaments you dream of winning.
“So to actually relive these moments again after 2011 it’s quite incredible. To win against one of the biggest rivals, as you said, all-time Grand Slam champion, somebody that, you know, always keeps on fighting till the last point, keeps making you play an extra shot, yeah, all these things now are very special to me.
“Obviously I owe a great gratitude to my team and for making sure I can perform as well as I did, you know, all these years. And tonight is a night that I will definitely remember for a long time.”
“The season is not over, but the Grand Slam is over,” Djokovic said to media. “The biggest tournaments that I have played this year, as anybody else, and I won three out of four. It’s more than I could ask for, definitely.
“Of course I do have lots of expectations and high ambitions whenever I’m approaching the Grand Slams or any other tournament, but, you know, now actually sitting down here with this trophy and reflecting on what I have achieved, it’s quite incredible.
“So I’m definitely very satisfied and proud of that. As you said, you know, he played great tennis throughout the entire year. I think as the season was going by he was elevating his game. He was improving. Now he came up with a different shot, as well, the shot that nobody has ever seen.
“And it’s been working well also against me in Cincinnati and also here. He’s just not going away. He’s not dropping his level too much. You know, I was saying on the court that he’s always going to be out there making you play your best if you want to win.
“So that’s who Roger is. That’s why he has won so many Grand Slam titles.
“And I knew that coming to the court. I knew he’s going to be aggressive. He’s going to try to disrupt my rhythm, and he’s going to put a lot of variety in his game. slice, chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley. Which he did.
But I was ready for it. I was ready for the battle. That’s what it was. Three hours, 20 minutes. We pushed each other to the limit, as we always do.
“It’s an ultimate challenge that I can have now winning against Roger back to back finals in Wimbledon and here, US Open. It’s tremendous. I’m really, really proud of it.”