Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main court of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, USA, was the scene of a number of special issues related to the number 24 after the men’s singles final of the US Open on November 11. From Margaret Court’s (AUS) seemingly unassailable record of major singles titles, to the story of Kobe Bryant, who sadly passed away three years ago.
The man who made it all happen was the “greatest tennis player of all time,” Novak Djokovic (#1-Serbia).
Djokovic won the title on Sunday with a 3-0 (6-3 7-6<7-5> 6-3) victory over Danil Medvedev (#3-Russia) in 3 hours and 16 minutes. It was Djokovic’s 24th career major title. It equaled the record for most major singles titles on court. His achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that more than half of Court’s titles, 13, were won before 1968, when professional players were allowed to compete in majors.
After his victory, Djokovic wore a top (pictured) emblazoned with the number 24 and the words “Mamba Forever”. Mamba was the nickname of Bryant, the franchise star of the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s Los Angeles Lakers, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020. The number 24 was Bryant’s jersey number during his playing days.
Djokovic and Bryant were close friends during his lifetime. After winning the 2020 Australian Open, Djokovic wore a T-shirt with Bryant’s initials and his jersey number, “KB 8, 24,” to the podium in his honor. “We were very close,” Djokovic said after the win. He gave me a lot of advice when I was struggling with injuries, and he was one of the people I leaned on the most.”
In the 2000s, the world of men’s tennis was dominated by Federer and Nadal. However, Djokovic’s rise to prominence in the 2010s ushered in the era of the so-called “Big Three“.
Many tennis fans consider Djokovic to be the greatest player of all time because he was able to dominate through an era that featured some of the greatest players in tennis history, ultimately winning the most majors. In terms of weeks spent at the top of the world rankings, Djokovic has a whopping 390 weeks compared to Federer’s 310 and Nadal’s 209. This is the most for both men and women combined, ahead of Graf’s 377 weeks.
Federer, born in 1981, has retired, and Nadal, born in 1986, has announced his retirement next year after falling out of the top 100. Now in his mid-30s, Djokovic is starting to show his age. Despite this, he is playing with more poise and is still able to compete with players more than a decade his junior. Djokovic has won half of all his major titles, 12, after the age of 30.
Medvedev’s words after his runner-up finish shed light on Djokovic’s current status. “What am I doing here 먹튀검증 all this time (not retiring),” Medvedev joked, before adding, “I don’t have a bad career either. I won 20 tour events. But Djokovic has won 24 majors. It’s amazing,” he said.
Djokovic responded to Medvedev’s praise by saying, “It’s always amazing and special when you make history like this.” “When I was seven or eight years old, I had a dream that I wanted to be the best player in the world and win Wimbledon one day. I never imagined that I would win 24 majors,” he said.