New York: Novak Djokovic had come prepared for a fierce battle with Roger Federer in the US Open men's singles final. But there was one factor he had not considered -- the crowd.
Throughout the three hours and 20 minutes long battle, as the Serb gradually unravelled Federer over four gruelling sets, the 23,000 strong crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium stayed firmly behind the Swiss veteran.
Djokovic eventually prevailed 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to win his 10th Grand Slam title late on Sunday. But as he battled to win his third major of the year, the world number one was booed and jeered by Federer supporters.
The hostile reception appeared to rankle Djokovic on a couple of occasions when he gestured towards the stands after winning crucial points. The top seed admitted after the final that he would strive to be more popular among the fans.
"You do let sometimes certain things distract you. But it's important to get back on the course and go back to basics and why you are there and what you need to do," he remarked. "I accept the fact. Everybody has a choice to support a player that they want to support."
"I'm there to earn the support and hopefully in the future I can be in that position."
The Serb also felt that Federer -- introduced as one of the greatest players of all time before the match -- deserved all the support and respect he got.
"He absolutely deserves to have the support he does because of all the years and success that he had and the way he carries himself on and off the court. No question about it. Me, I’m there to earn the support, and hopefully in the future I can be in that position," Djokovic said.