Novak Djokovic has won so many Grand Slam singles titles in so many ways that it's hard to keep count.
On Sunday, Serbian Djokovic defeated Russian Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to cement his status as the greatest player of the contemporary era.
Djokovic took advantage of Medvedev's flat start, outlasted his friend in an epic second set, and defeated his Monte Carlo neighbor, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
He did it on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where he spent most of his career playing the villain against underdogs or crowd favorites like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Sunday was different. The roughly 24,000 fans roared when Medvedev dropped a shot into the net to deliver Djokovic the trophy, which has been unexpectedly difficult for the best hardcourt player in history to win.
“This means the world to me,” he told the crowd before receiving the trophy for the fourth time in his career.
His transformation from foil to protagonist began two years earlier, near the end of a different final against the same opponent.
Djokovic entered the court hoping to become the first guy in almost 50 years to win all four Grand Slam titles in a year.