By Godwin Aikigbe
Novak Djokovic now ties Pete Sampras for third place all-time on the Grand Slam singles titles list with 14 defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in the Men’s Singles final of US Open on Monday morning.
With the crowd firmly behind him under the roof in Arthur Ashe Stadium, del Potro battled to the bitter end, levelling sets two and three after dropping an early break in both. Ultimately, the Serb was too solid.
The first “Ole Delpo” song rang out at 1-1, 30-30, started by the “Tandil 12,” and soon rained down from every corner of the stands. But Djokovic was comfortable playing the foil, and he answered with a pair of forehand winners as he went through deuce to hold.
“This might sound funny, but my nickname is Nole. When they shout, ‘Ole, ole, ole, ole,’ that’s what I hear,” he said at his post-match press conference. “I actually make myself hear that, to be honest, no word of a lie. I really do… When the roof is closed, trust me, it’s very, very loud down there. It takes a lot of effort to actually stay poised in the moment. I’m glad I managed to do that.”
Djokovic was cruising on serve, while his returns – “the best of all time,” according to the ESPN commentary by John and Patrick McEnroe – constantly pushed del Potro onto his back foot despite booming serves that reached 136 mph. With Djokovic firmly on course to spoil the party in Ashe, del Potro was searching for an answer.