After beating Juan Martin del Potro in the men's singles final to claim the US Open title and matching Pete Sampras record of 14 Grand Slam titles, champion Novak Djokovic said that Roger Federer as well as Rafael Nadal have made him the player he is today.
The Novak Djokovic vs Juan Martin del Potro US Open 2018 men's singles final match will be played at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY.
Del Potro backed Djokovic to surpass Federer's mark of 20 Slams.
Not only had she entered the history books as the first Japanese Grand Slam victor, but she achieved the feat with victory over Williams - her childhood idol - in extraordinary circumstances. Djokovic admitted that at the start of his career, he did not look forward to playing Nadal, Federer.
In the years between toppling Roger Federer in the 2009 final and Sunday's match, del Potro almost quit tennis after undergoing four wrist surgeries, three of them on his left wrist, that left him in a deep depression and had him seriously weighing retirement.
"When I had the surgery on my elbow I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through". Three times, Djokovic steeled himself.
For Del Potro, it was a heartbreaking experience coming in just his second Slam final, nine years after he was crowned US Open champion.
Djokovic faced neither of his greatest rivals en route to the title in Flushing Meadows.
Some two hours after the match, del Potro walked out to the players garden to a greeting from his group of about a dozen friends who have led the cheers from his box, supporters from back home he has credited with keeping his spirits up during the depressing days when he was injured. The US Open winners have been crowned.
Del Potro's forehand is among the most intimidating weapons in the sport, but it misfired under relentless pressure towards the end of the first set, Djokovic breaking in the eighth game - at the end of a 22-shot rally - and taking the opener.
It was only the second set dropped by the Argentine at the tournament.
"There was always part of me that believed I could come back relatively quickly to the level of tennis that I once was playing", Djokovic, 31, said before Sunday's match. "I've spent all my career learning with Novak, Roger, Rafa, seeing them winning these events very often". From 1-3, Del Potro won three games in a row and had Djokovic rattled.
"I was playing nearly at the limit, all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn't make it", del Potro said, "because Novak (was) there every time". Later, after winning a point, Djokovic put that finger to his ear, as if to say, "Who are you cheering for now?!"
"I just feel like, as Serena said in the closing ceremony, Osaka deserves to have her moment".