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Novak's tough road to US Open triumph

Varun Khanna
152   //    Timeless

Djokovic wasn't sure if he'd ever
able to be as good as he used to be

Former world No 1 Novak Djokovic returned from a six-month injury layoff to win the third US Open title of his career. Djokovic claimed the 14th Grand Slam of his career after beating Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 at the US Open.

With this, the Serbian has equalled Pete Sampras' career grand slam haul, placing him third in the list of most Grand Slams won behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He has again shown us that there are three great champions in this era as opposed to two.

The journey to win 2 back-to-back Grand Slams was not as easy as it looked for the 31-year old. Djokovic ended the 2017 season after he retired from the Wimbledon in quarterfinals against Thomas Berdych. He'd injured himself in the right elbow which eventually required a surgery.

The Serb then disclosed that he had been struggling with his elbow since the start of the 2016 season. Even after his long break, Novak hadn't recovered fully. After his fourth-round exit in this year's Australian Open, Djokovic finally decided to have his elbow operated on.

Djokovic had failed to win a Grand Slam title for more than two years before Wimbledon 2018. Not everyone believed Novak's loss of form to be solely due to his physical ailment. Tennis pundits believed that he'd lost his mental edge, which is a vital part of every champion's game.

He'd lost his motivation and was certainly spending less time on court than he should, according to his former coach Boris Becker. It seemed that the Serb's era of dominance was over. He was out of the top 20 in ATP rankings for the first time since 2006 in May. His victories since then have returned him back to the top and is now a serious contender for the year-end world No 1 spot.

Djokovic had changed several coaches last year including Andre Agassi, Radek Stepanek, and Boris Becker. He then brought back his former coach Marian Vajda this year. After the 2016 French Open title, it had all been downhill for Novak. That he's been able to come back and dominate the field again is a testament to his grit and determination.

Djokovic admitted that his confidence was low earlier this year. He said, "I was able to make all my childhood dreams come true but lately my confidence is not at the highest level. The recent results have not been what we are used to but coming back is a process and all I can do now is to do some hard work."

He has shown us some world-class tennis and great composure since the start of Wimbledon. He has returned to the best of his form and has once again started to dominate the world of tennis. It was a tough road for the Serbian but he fought hard, found inspiration and again proved to the world why he is one of the greatest tennis players in the history of tennis.

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