Tennis legend Novak Djokovic achieved a remarkable milestone on Sunday, winning his 24th Grand Slam title. However, this victory was not just about tennis; it was also a heartfelt tribute to his late friend, NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
In a dominant performance, Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to claim his 24th major title, surpassing the record previously held by any male tennis player.
But what made this victory even more special was the tribute Djokovic paid to Kobe Bryant.
During his celebratory moments, the Serbian tennis star donned a jersey with an image of himself alongside Kobe Bryant, featuring the number 24.
This number represented both Djokovic’s incredible achievement of 24 Grand Slam titles and Kobe Bryant’s iconic jersey number during his illustrious career with the Lakers.
“Kobe was a close friend… we chatted a lot about the winner’s mentality.”
Novak Djokovic on honoring Kobe Bryant after winning his 24th major title. 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/eS3SWbIhq4
— NBA (@NBA) September 11, 2023
Explaining the tribute, Djokovic revealed, “I thought of doing this T-shirt eventually if I got the chance to win the tournament. It was about seven days ago. I didn’t share it with anyone until a few days ago when I asked my people to help me make this shirt.”
He went on to express the deep friendship and bond he shared with Kobe Bryant.
“Kobe was a close, close friend. We chatted a lot about the winner’s mentality when I was struggling with an injury and trying to make my comeback, work my way back to the top of the game,” Djokovic shared.
“He was always there for any kind of counsel, advice, any kind of support in the most friendly way. So, of course, what happened a few years ago, him and his daughter passing, hurt me deeply, and I thought 24 is the jersey that he wore when he became a legend of the Lakers and world basketball. So, I thought it could be a nice symbolic thing to acknowledge him.”
Most GrandSlam Title Winners
24. Novak Djokovic
24. Margaret Court
23. Serena Williams
22. Rafael Nadal
20. Roger Federer