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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday September 10, 2023

Novak Djokovic kept the memory of his 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat at the hands of Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 US Open final close to him as he prepared for his tenth US Open final in New York.

Tennis Express

Not wanting to get caught up in the moment, thinking about the implications and what was at stake as he made a play for his 24th major title, the 36-year-old made sure he kept things simple in his head.

His ability to take the lessons from that crushing defeat two years ago, when he fell at the final hurdle in his bid to become the first player in history to win the calendar year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, is one of the biggest reasons he was able to perform to perfection in Sunday’s 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 win.

“I really did my best in the last 48 hours not to allow the importance of the moment and what's on the line get to my head, because two years ago that's what happened, and I underperformed and I wasn't able to be at my best and I was outplayed,” Djokovic said after the final.

“So I learned my lesson. My team, my family knew that the last 24 hours, don't touch me, don't speak to me about, you know, the history of what's on the line.”

Djokovic moves to the top of the all-time Grand Slam singles table and becomes the oldest champion in US Open history (he also became the oldest champion at Roland-Garros, when he defeated Casper Ruud for the title in June) with his emotional triumph in New York. He had lost six of his previous nine finals in New York City, but his tenth was a perfect ten.

The Serbian legend wins his fourth US Open title and pulls into a tie for fourth on the all-time title list in Flushing Meadows with John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal. Only Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, who each won five, have more.

“I really did my best to keep things quite simple and stick to the routines that brought me to where I am and treat this match really as any other match where I just need to win,” Djokovic said. “But of course, lots of different thoughts are going through your head. What if, what-if scenarios, images that you have in your mind of, you know, what will look like if you win. And also if you lose, so I'm trying to block those ones.

“It was a big battle, I think, in the last 24 hours to really just keep things simple and clear and prepare for this match in a right way, which I think I have done.”