Djokovic Reveals Hike in France Key to Improved Form

Ross Houston
September 14, 2018

Del Potro will now face Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 victor, who reached his eighth final at the tournament and 23rd of his Grand Slam career with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 stroll past Japan's Kei Nishikori.

There was a time when Pete Sampras's tally of 14 Grand Slam singles titles - the last of which came at the U.S. Open in 2002 - seemed like the acme of sporting achievement in men's tennis.

Injuries have derailed Del Potro's career but the Argentinian was back in a major decider, nine years after claiming the 2009 US Open.

From that point a Djokovic victory looked inevitable and, after Del Potro wiped out a final-set break at 3-1 in the following game, the Argentine produced a double fault to give Djokovic another chance for a 5-3 lead.

"1-2-3;-Osaka-at-No. -7-after-US-Open-title">rightfully back atop the rankings for the first time in 3½ years, with Nadal at No. 1, Federer at No. 2 and, as of Monday, Djokovic at No. 3. That Williams lost a point, then a game, and was fined $17,000 are what will be remembered about that final.

Never was that more apparent than the game that stood out on this evening, with Djokovic serving while down 4-3 in the second set.


In one charge at the net, Djokovic picked a del Potro volley off his toes and sent back a victor.

Now that Novak Djokovic has the same number of Grand Slam titles as his childhood idol, Pete Sampras, it's realistic for him to start thinking about chasing the only two men ahead of him, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

He said: "I think I did a good tournament, but this is a tough loss for me".

'I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.

I remember one moment particularly when we climbed that mountain.

But he is a strong candidate for any title when he is fit and the fact he has the most number of victories by anyone over world number one player just goes to show how unsafe he can become when he is without any injury.


The 31-year-old Djokovic captured his second straight tennis major at the 2018 U.S. Open from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York.

"I've been during all my career learning with Novak, Roger, Rafa, seeing them winning these events very often". I had my opportunities during the second and third set but I was playing nearly at the limit all the time ... and I couldn't make it because Novak was there every time. "It's a Grand Slam final!"

"With his wrist injuries, with coming back and still having faith, having belief in himself that one day he's going to be a top player and he's going to be fighting for Grand Slams", Djokovic said, "I really wish him all the best".

As a snapshot of Sunday night's match, the eighth game of the second set served quite well. "I know he will be back here with the Champions trophy".

He said: "If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I'd win Wimbledon, the US Open and Cincinnati then it would be hard to believe".

The key was his success with a lung-busting 22-shot rally and he pocketed the set when the 29-year-old del Potro netted a forehand.


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