"He will be the favourite to win on Sunday", Del Potro said. He was, in short, out of sorts.
After an overhead smash on match point, Djokovic dropped to his back in elation before embracing del Potro at midcourt. Three times, Djokovic steeled himself.
Serbian sixth seed and Wimbledon champion Djokovic, who also had to get his career back on track following an elbow injury, said during the trophy presentation: "When I had surgery earlier this year, I could truly understand what Juan Martin went through with his surgeries that kept him away from the Tour".
Osaka's father Leonard, who went to NY for her match, said he was beyond excited, and relieved to see her win. "But at the same time, life showed me that it takes time for good things, it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place, so you can center yourself, balance yourself and thrive".
Nonetheless, Djokovic, who thrives in such situations, showed his class yet again dismantling del Potro, who had been in fine form over the last two weeks in NY.
Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the championship trophy at the Top of the Rock Observatory the day after winning the Women's Singles finals match against Serena Williams at the 2018 U.S. Open in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., September 9, 2018.
"He's my idol. Pete, I love you, " Djokovic said.
And he now only trails Federer and Nadal in the world rankings as well. In the years between toppling Roger Federer in the 2009 final and Sunday's match, del Potro almost quit tennis after undergoing four wrist surgeries, three of them on his left wrist, that left him in a deep depression and had him seriously weighing retirement. It was a comeback for a guy who had four wrist operations in the interim.
"I will try to make the surprise again".
"I learned a lot about myself, learned to be patient, which was never really a stronger side of me", Djokovic said.
Del Potro spoke this week about the low point in 2015, when he considered quitting the sport. From 1-3, Del Potro won three games in a row and had Djokovic rattled. They went back and forth, through eight deuces and all those break opportunities for del Potro, until he slapped one forehand into the net, and another sailed wide.