Novak Djokovic wished his idol Pete Sampras was in attendance after winning US Open
"You learn when you're down, when you have doubtful moments. I tried to take the best out of myself in those moments and get myself in this position"
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 10/09/18 11:14am
Novak Djokovic said he wished Pete Sampras was in attendance for the US Open final after matching his idol for third on the career list for Grand Slam titles.
Djokovic continued his remarkable summer after missing the end of last season with a right elbow injury by winning Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters, and then his second straight major title at Flushing Meadows with a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday.
The Serb moved into joint third on the all-time list of male Grand Slam singles champions with Sampras by winning his 14th major title.
He said: "I was hoping he was going to be here. I want to say, 'Pete, I love you, you're my idol'
Djokovic had elbow surgery in February to finally fix a problem that had dogged him for more than a year and found his best form again this summer.
"When I had the surgery on my elbow I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through. Difficult times but you learn from adversity.
"You learn when you're down, when you have doubtful moments. I tried to take the best out of myself in those moments and get myself in this position," said the 31-year-old, who will climb above his opponent to third in the rankings and has a chance to finish the year back at number one.
Del Potro sobbed on his chair before taking to the podium and, addressing his noisy fans, said: "It's not easy to speak right now but I love you guys.
"I'm so happy to be playing the final against this magnificent idol. Of course I'm sad because I lose but I'm happy for Novak, you deserved to win."
Del Potro said he was most proud of not giving up in pursuit of another Grand Slam final, adding: "I got it after nine years, which is amazing to me because the US Open is my favourite tournament and I'm proud of that."
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