Novak Djokovic craves more even after cementing his place in sporting immortality with a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown.
The super Serb gained sweet revenge over Daniil Medvedev with a sapping 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 US Open final triumph in New York to match the all-time majors mark of Australian legend Margaret Court.
A 24th slam eluded Serena Williams, who lost her last four major finals before retiring last year, but not Djokovic, who became the oldest man to win the Flushing Meadows title in tennis’ 55-year professional era.
The 36-year-old replaced Australian great Ken Rosewall – who was 35 when he won the 1970 US Open – in the record books with his three-hour, 16-minute victory.
But any notion of Djokovic considering riding off into the sunset was swiftly swatted away in the jubilant aftermath to his latest success.
“Occasionally asking myself, ‘Why do I need this still at this stage after all I have done’, you know? How long do I want to keep going? I do have these questions in my head,” Djokovic said.
“Knowing that I play at such a high level still and I win the biggest tournaments in this sport … I don’t want to leave this sport if I’m still at the top.”
Sunday’s clash was a rematch of the 2021 final, which Medvedev won in straight sets for his still-lone major title to deny Djokovic a fabled calendar-year grand slam sweep.
Djokovic has now taken three of the four available slams in 2023, having also won the Australian Open and Roland Garros while losing the Wimbledon final in five sets to Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
His fourth title from 10 Flushing Meadows finals propels the undisputed tennis GOAT back to the top of the rankings, replacing dethroned champion Alcaraz.
Of more importance to Djokovic is his record against his peers; he is now two clear of Rafael Nadal’s 22 grand slam crowns and four ahead of Roger Federer, who declared last year on 20.
The Serb wasted no time showing off his history-making feat, donning a shirt with ’24’ and ‘Mamba Forever’ written on it as a tribute to the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, who wore that jersey number.
On top of that went a white jacket with the same significant number stamped on the chest.
“I don’t know where to start – it means the world to me,” said Djokovic, who who missed last year’s US Open after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in a sport that has given me and my family so much.
“I never imagined I would be standing here talking about 24 slams. But the last couple of years I felt I had a chance, a shot at history, so why not grab it?
“To compete at the highest level in this sport that has given me and my family so much, coming from very difficult circumstances and adversities in the ’90s, a couple of wars in our country, and being able to push through that.
“Especially my parents, giving a lot of sacrifices to support me to play. I love you, so thank you so much.”
Third-seeded Medvedev, who knocked out Australians Chris O’Connell and Alex de Minaur as well as reigning champion Alcaraz on his way to the final, has now lost four grand slam title deciders – two each to Djokovic and Nadal.
Medvedev lost to Nadal in New York in 2019 and Melbourne last year, and was also beaten by Djokovic at the 2021 Australian Open.