In his post-match press conference after winning his third US Open, Novak Djokovic commented on how it felt to be playing in the same era as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Djokovic's feelings over the season have changed.
Initially, he was always behind the two players. 'Maybe 10 years ago I would say I'm not so happy to be part of this era with Nadal and Federer,' Djokovic admitted. 'Actually today I am. I really am. I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.
I have utmost respect for what they have achieved on the court, but also the champions, role models they are off the court. I think we have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other. For me, that was always an ultimate challenge: to play Nadal or Federer anywhere.
I think I had to figure out early in my career, when I was losing most of the big matches on the Grand Slams against them, what it takes for me to actually kind of improve and develop my game to be able to challenge them, to be able to start winning against them when it matters the most.
I think that was one of the most important, so to say, moments and periods of my life, my tennis career, my development. I owe it to them.' ALSO READ: Mouratoglou: 'I coached, but also Toni Nadal, Bajin coached on every point'