The US Open champion Novak Djokovic: "I owe Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal"

US Open Champion Novak Djokovic:

"There's a lot of meaning from me now shoulder to shoulder in terms of Grand Slam victories with him."

The victory puts Djokovic to three Slam victories away from Nadal 17 and six behind the record of Federer 20.

You will also see it climb to number three in the world behind Nadal and Federer, the rankings again reflect the status of the "Big Three" that have shared for so long.

Djokovic had fallen in qualifying, slowed last year by an elbow injury and a loss of confidence that accompanied a 54-week drought for the title.

Since he emerged from the depression with an unexpected Wimbledon title, he has grown stronger, adding a long-awaited Cincinnati Masters title to his resume before adding the US Open title to those he won in 2011 and 2015.

Djokovic did not face any of his most important rivals on the way to the title in Flushing Meadows.

Sown to face Federer in the quarterfinals, he found himself in place through John Millman's net after the Australian surprised the great Swiss.

Nadal left a semi-final match against Del Potro after two sets.

Djokovic would have enjoyed taking on either, or both, although he admits that at the beginning of his career it was not always like that.

"Maybe 10 years ago I would say I'm not very happy to be part of this era with Nadal and Federer," he said.

"Today I really am, I feel that these guys, the rivalries with these guys, the matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, they have made me the player I am today.

"I owe it to them."

Even though he was riding high when he reached the Open, Djokovic was one of many who fought the heat and the crushing humidity in the first week.

He needed four sets to beat the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, number 41 in the first round, and another to beat the American Tennys Sandgren, number 61 in the ranking, in the second.

& # 39; Ole Nole & # 39;

He accelerated the pace with consecutive victories against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Portuguese Joao Sousa, Millman and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori to reach a title with his good friend Del Potro.

After taking an early break in the second set, Djokovic suddenly found himself on the run, dropping three games in a row before digging to save a suspension of service in a 20-minute marathon game that was reduced to eight in eight.

The crowd was roaring for sentimental favorite Del Potro, excluded from the Grand Slam finals since his triumph at the 2009 US Open.

Djokovic said it was the kind of heavyweight shock he had learned to embrace.

"This may sound funny, but my nickname is Nole, when they shout" Ole, ole, ole, ole, "that's what I hear," he said of del Potro's shrill singing.

"I thought it was electrifying in some stages of the game, especially in the second set when we went hand-in-hand, I also had my corner.

"When the roof is closed, believe me, it's very, very noisy there, it takes a lot of effort to be really prepared right now.

"I'm glad I managed to do that."