‘The debate is closed – we have never seen a player so strong’, says legend on Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic 2023 US Open trophy

Tennis great Justine Henin has asserted that “the debate is closed on many things” after Novak Djokovic won his 24th Grand Slam title with victory at the 2023 US Open.

The seven-time major winner praised the Serbian’s mental strength and “perfect” tactics, while declaring “we have never seen a player so strong.”

Djokovic overcame 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the final of this year’s edition of the hard-court Grand Slam on Sunday.

The 36-year-old’s triumph saw him tie Margaret Court’s tally of 24 major singles crowns and extend his record as the all-time men’s Grand Slam leader. He also regained the world No 1 ranking from Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz today.

Speaking to Eurosport, Henin lauded Djokovic’s performance against Medvedev and admitted it is difficult to put his achievements into words.

“Novak was the strongest, and he demonstrated it on many levels. We imagined that he would be totally ready to enter this final, but he did it in such a precise, so committed, so intense way,” said the Belgian.

“We look for the words, because we no longer find them concerning him. When we finally see this emotion we can imagine and we know all the work behind it, all this commitment, all its sacrifices, all its questioning, at 36 years old.

“There are no words, no matter how hard we look for one, but the debate is closed on many things. We have never seen a player so strong and he demonstrated it again in this final with style.

“And tactically, everything he came up with was perfect. And since Daniil Medvedev entered this part much more slowly, it made a significant gap. We had a second set of a truly exceptional level at times, with all the ingredients gathered to experience a great final.

“But that’s when Djokovic makes his life easier, by resisting. He was on a wire, and then it became clinical again. On his part, he weakens at times, and fortunately so, but he has so much mental strength that it becomes discouraging for his opponents.”

The former world No 1 also discussed the Serbian’s superb start to the championship match, during which he raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening set.

“Djokovic was able to do what Alcaraz failed to do two days ago: leave his mark on the start of the match,” assessed the two-time US Open champion.

“Djokovic showed his offensive intentions, he attacked him quite quickly. He served very well at the start of the game even if he had fewer first [serves] afterwards. Conversely, Medvedev was not impactful enough.”

READ MORE: ‘If I wasn’t from Serbia, I’d have been glorified on a sporting level many years ago’ – Novak Djokovic

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