US Open: Djokovic equals Sampras slam haul with title

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Twelve months ago, Novak Djokovic wasn't even playing in the US Open while trying rehab a nagging elbow injury that eventually required surgery.

"The first thing I saw related to tennis on the TV was his first or second Wimbledon championship".

"Pete Sampras is one of the biggest legends ever to play the game", Djokovic said Sunday. Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray have now won 50 of the past 55 Grand Slams.

A focused Djokovic continued to apply pressure in the third set until Del Potro finally cracked on serve to fall behind 5-3, with the Serb closing out the match with a ferocious overhead victor.

Later, after winning a point, Djokovic put that finger to his ear, as if to say, "Who are you cheering for now?!"

"That inspired me to start playing tennis".

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"There was always part of me that imagined and believed and hoped that I can get back [to] the desired level of tennis very soon, " said Djokovic, whose operation was in February.

The sixth seed had suffered in the ferocious heat and humidity through the early days of the season's final Grand Slam but dropped only two sets for the tournament and none since the second round.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory over Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during their 2018 US Open men's singles final match on September 9, 2018 in NY.

The crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium had been backing del Potro throughout the tournament and Sunday was no different.

"That's kind of my approach and my thinking", said Djokovic, who missed last year's U.S Open because of his elbow.

Over the past eight weeks Djokovic has resembled the player that held all four major titles at the same time in 2016 and the $3.8 million ($AU5.3 million) winner's cheque lifted him above Federer as the leader in career prize money.

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He also said he had suffered personal issues in 2017, both key factors as he was unable to reach a semi-final in seven consecutive Grand Slams until his Wimbledon victory. "I owe it to them".

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

For Del Potro, it was a heartbreaking experience coming in just his second Slam final, nine years after he was crowned US Open champion. I had my corner, as well.

"I will try to make the surprise again".

"When the roof is closed, trust me, it's very, very loud down there".

The effort took its toll on a suddenly weary-looking Del Potro as a 95-minute set was claimed by Djokovic in the tiebreak.

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