24 and there's so much more


Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the men's singles tennis championship at the U.S. Open in New York yesterday. It was his 24th first-place finish in a major tournament. He has won all four majors at least three times each. Statistically, at least, he is the greatest men's tennis player ever.

His final opponent this time around, Daniil Medvedev of Russia, had beaten him on the same court for the same trophy two years ago, but it was a different story this time. The Djoker handled Medvedev in the first set. Then the second set turned into an epic struggle that went on for more than an hour and a half. It could have gone either way, but Novak eked out a win in a tiebreaker. Too bad for the Russian, who sees like the nicest guy you'd ever meet. The third set was pretty routine, and that's all it took.

The winner won $3 million; the runner-up, half that.

Although he's 36 years old, and you could tell he was feeling it in his legs all through the match, Djokovic looks like he still has a lot of tennis in him. Two more years? Three? He seems like he'll go until injuries take their toll.

All the celebs were on hand to see his latest triumph, with which he tied Margaret Court's record for the most major singles wins by any human. Sting was there. Seinfeld. Tennis legends like Stan Smith. Nicole Kidman. Justin Timberlake. Lil' Wayne. Christie Brinkley sitting next to Martha Stewart. You get the picture.

As usual by the time they reach the end of a tourney, I was on the edge of burnout. I like the earlier rounds better, when there are a lot more players going at it and big upsets can happen. Same for the college basketball fest in March. But this U.S. Open was a good one to watch, even with the old-timey champs not on the court.

When the New York crowd goes home from the tennis complex for another year, you know it's fall. I say bring it on.


  1. As I approached middle age, I still thought I could have been a good tennis player. That dream was dispelled when I saw a teenage named Jimmy Connors destroy the best amateur in Santa Monica.


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