Still and always. Novak Djokovic plays for history on Sunday and aims for a 24th major title at the US Open to equal Margaret Court's all-time record. The 36-year-old champion, who reached the final of 9 of the last 10 Grand Slam tournaments in which he participated (!) is playing his tenth final in New York and in the process equaling Bill Tilden's record. He sets another record with a 36th appearance in a Grand Slam final, now ahead of Roger Federer by five lengths. Hair-raising.
For his part, Daniil Medvedev will try to snatch a second Grand Slam title from his tally in his favorite tournament. He is thus playing his third New York final and his fifth Grand Slam. Novak Djokovic fell in 2021 for the biggest victory of his career, Medvedev also has a final in 2019 and a half in 2020. Explanations of the person concerned: "It's the US Open, and I don't really know why , I tend to play aggressively and quickly. I serve well too. It’s probably linked to the speed of the court which helps me.”
Novak Djokovic A long, quiet river, or almost. Apart from a big scare in the 3rd round where he was led two sets to zero by his compatriot Laslo Djere, before getting out of it in five sets, the Serb did not leave any other set on the way, benefiting from a table, it is true, very lenient. After knocking down one of his favorite victims Taylor Fritz in three sets without trembling in the quarters, the Djoker brought down another American, the young Ben Shelton, in the semi-finals in three acts as well (6-3, 6-2, 7-6).
Daniil Medvedev On hard American, his favorite surface, the 27-year-old Russian did not shine this summer, eliminated in the quarter and eighth from Toronto and Cincinnati against Alex de Minaur and Alexander Zverev. But at the US Open, he found great form at the right time. And got stronger. After conceding a set against Australian Christopher O'Connell in the second round and another against Minaur in the round of 16, he tamed his compatriot Andrey Rublev as usual in the quarters and hit hard in the last four by ejecting of the tournament, the defending champion Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Djokovic and Medvedev have already faced each other 14 times, with 9 victories for the Serb. The Muscovite assures him, however. “I like playing against Novak. The first time I played it, I was 60th. We always had difficult matches, mentally and physically. If Medvedev likes to play against Nole, not sure that the opposite is true. Two years ago, in the final and in three dry sets, the protege of Gilles Cervara had ended a historic series of the Serb of 27 games won in a row over the Grand Slam season. A striking defeat for the record hunter who was only three sets away from becoming the first to win all four Majors in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.
Medvedev's (impressive) number of victories in 2023 on hard courts (4 titles in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai and Miami). Since 2018, he is quite simply the most awarded player on this surface with 18 titles including the 2021 US Open, 28 finals, including the 2023 and 2019 US Open, as well as the 2021 and 2022 Australian Open.
Djokovic's number of weeks as world number one. The Serb is guaranteed to regain the chair of tennis leader in Monday's standings. An absolute record far ahead of Roger Federer 310 and Pete Sampras 286.
Daniil Medvedev: “Every time he (Djokovic) is stronger than in the previous match. In 2021, I beat him at the US Open and the next time he beat me at Bercy. He lost at Wimbledon to Alcaraz and beat him in Cincinnati the next time. I'm going to face the best Novak possible on Sunday and I'll have to be myself at a level that I've never reached before if I want to try to beat him.
Novak Djokovic “Every time I play a Grand Slam final, I am aware that it is an opportunity to write a page in the history of tennis, and I am proud of it. But I don't have time, and I forbid myself to think too much about the historical aspect.