Djokovic: From sicknote Serb to Grand Slam warrior

  New York, Monday

Novak Djokovic was once the sick-note Serb whose undoubted promise was at the mercy of a variety of frustrating aches, pains and assorted strains.

But with a third US Open title to go with the Wimbledon crown he secured in July, he has matched American Pete Sampras on 14 Grand Slam titles and there is little doubt that the 31-year-old is one of the sport’s greats.

Djokovic, playing in his eighth US Open final, delivered a businesslike 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over third-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

Since a quarter-final exit at Roland Garros left him threatening to skip Wimbledon, he has lost just one match, claiming not only a third title at the All-England Club but also a first Cincinnati Masters title in the build-up to the US Open.

From his lowest ranking in 12 years, he continues to rise. Sixth coming into the Open he is projected to rise to three in the world.

Now, Djokovic is three behind Rafael Nadal’s total of 17 Slams, six shy of Roger Federer’s record of 20.

But he has time on his side, Federer has already celebrated his 37th birthday.

“Of course he can. He has 14 already. He won two Grand Slams in one year. He’s healthy. He has a great team working with him. Novak has everything to make records in this sport,” said Del Potro when asked if Djokovic can claim the record over Federer.

Djokovic’s ability to thrive amongst the greats has never been in doubt, but the size of his heart led to questions in his early days.

At Wimbledon in 2007, he retired with a back injury in the third set of his semi-final against Nadal.                                                              -AFP

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