Social reax: Players near and far offer congratulations to Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal of Spain retires with a injury against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during their Men's Singles Semi Finals match at the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York

The Serbian now has equalled Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slams after he defeated Del Potro 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the US Open final on Sunday, to lift up the trophy for the third time in his career. The only two players with more Grand Slam titles than him are Rafael Nadal (17) and Roger Federer (20).

The runners-up, Juan Martin Del Potro and Serena Williams, pocketed a healthy $2.6 million.

A year after missing the U.S. Open because of an injured right elbow that would require surgery, Djokovic showed that he is unquestionably back at his best and back at the top of tennis.

"I can't believe she managed to get all the way up", Djokovic said.

Just when it looked like Djokovic would stay calm and take it to Del Potro, the Argentine fought back hard and how.

It came in a final which was business-like rather than thrilling, a relief for a tournament still reeling from the controversial women's final on Saturday.

But the "Big 3" of tennis have won every major tournament since, in a stark reminder that the "changing of the guard" is still a long way off.

He sealed the win with a forehand volley before going to hug a visibly-dejected Del Potro at the net.

"Of course he can", said the Argentine.

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And now the world gets to watch the next phase of this and wonder: How many more majors can Federer, 37 and coming off a fourth-round exit at the U.S. Open, add to his total? "I know he will be back here with the Champions trophy". "But I'm happy for Novak and his team".

"She gives to this sport a lot, but Naomi deserved to win".

Del Potro - the 2009 champion back for a second slam final after overcoming career-threatening wrist injuries - threw everything he had at his rival, but Djokovic absorbed the Argentinian's power superbly, his returning of serve particularly outstanding. The 29-year said that he is lucky to be competing in the same era as Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.

"I thought it was electrifying in some stages of the match, especially in the second set when we went toe-to-toe".

Djokovic has only ever lost one match from more than 200 when he has led by two sets - to Austria's Jurgen Melzer at the 2010 French Open - but there was no sign of that happening again.

The effort took its toll on a suddenly weary-looking Del Potro as a 95-minute set was claimed by Djokovic in the tiebreak.

Djokovic, who has returned to the calm, cool and collected version of himself that routinely won Grand Slam titles, served out the first set in the next game.

Djokovic had lost five previous finals at Flushing Meadows, but he was determined to make amends for his lack of trophies in NY as his defensive ability combined with his ruthless prowess saw him break in the fourth game, although Del Potro was not in the mood to give up so easily as he hit straight back.

The triumph for the sixth seed saw him complete the Wimbledon-US Open double for a third time and he remains only the eighth player to have achieved the feat in a calendar year.

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