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After US Open win, Novak Djokovic credits Roger Federer rivalry for success

The tennis star talks about how winning his second U.S. Open title feels different than the first and his rivalry with Roger Federer.
/ Source: TODAY

Fresh off the second U.S. Open singles title in his brilliant career, tennis star Novak Djokovic reflected on how this one is different from his first U.S. Open trophy.

"It does (feel different) because in between I lost three finals,'' he said on TODAY Monday. "I wasn't able in the last five years to make that final step, but I'm glad I won one of the most prestigious trophies in our sport."

Djokovic defeated rival Roger Federer 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–4 in a showdown of the top two players in the world on Sunday to capture his third Grand Slam title of the season and the 10th in his career. He improved to 63-5 overall this season and 27-1 in Grand Slam tournaments, leading Carson Daly to ask him if this is his greatest season ever.

"Considering the Grand Slam season, it's been the best so far in my life, so I'll definitely nurture it and remember it for the rest of my life,'' he said.

Federer and Djokovic are now dead even at 21-21 in their 42 matches against one another in their careers.

"It's definitely one of the biggest rivals I ever had in my life,'' Djokovic said. "He's the very reason why I've been successful so far in my career in winning 10 Grand Slams. He's been a big part of that success because he made me understand what are the things I need to work on, how I should improve in order to challenge him."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.