John McEnroe lauds ‘one in a billion’ Novak Djokovic after US Open victory

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic after the 2023 US Open final
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning 2023 US Open final

Tennis legend John McEnroe has described Novak Djokovic as “one in a billion” after the Serb claimed his 24th Grand Slam title with victory at the 2023 US Open.

The seven-time major singles champion also labelled Djokovic as “one of the most remarkable athletes you will see in any sport in every way possible.”

Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Sunday to win his fourth US Open crown in his 10th final at the New York Grand Slam.

It was the 36-year-old’s third major title this year following triumphs at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, while he also narrowly lost in the Wimbledon final. He has now reached the finals of all four Grand Slam events in three separate seasons.

The Serb overtook 20-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz to return to the summit of the ATP Rankings today.

Speaking after Djokovic’s men’s record-extending 24th major victory, former world No 1 McEnroe was in awe of what he continues to achieve.

“He is one of the most remarkable athletes you will see in any sport in every way possible. The drive, the hunger, the will he still has after all his achievements is crazy. He is one in a billion,” the American told ESPN.

“I love Roger [Federer]. I idolised Rod Laver. I have the greatest respect for Rafa Nadal, who gives more of an effort consistently. But this guy. I don’t even know where to begin. You just have to admire him.”

Djokovic discussed the importance of his ability to constantly improve and adapt following the final.

“There are always changes happening, literally on a weekly to monthly basis in my approach to training, to recovery, to mental training. There’s always something that I’m trying to add so that I can up my performance in my game, you know, at least for a few percent,” said the 36-year-old in his press conference.

“It’s a constant process of trying to get better and trying to implement certain things that work for you and finding that formula. When you find it, the biggest I feel like, one of the biggest lessons I have learned probably mentally throughout my career is that, even if you find a formula that works, it’s not a guarantee, and actually most likely it’s not going to work the next year.

“You need to reinvent yourself, because everyone else does. As a 36-year-old competing with 20-year-olds I probably have to do it more than I have ever done it in order to keep my body in shape, in order to be able to recover so that I can perform on the highest level consistently.

“Also mentally and emotionally to still keep the right balance between motivation so that I’m actually inspired and motivated to play the best tennis and to compete with these guys and to actually not let go in the moments when I maybe can, and at the same time keep the playfulness and passion for the sport.”

READ MORE: ‘Stubborn’ Daniil Medvedev reveals tactical change he should have made against Novak Djokovic