Novak Djokovic, who this Sunday won his 24th grand slam and thus equaled Margaret Court’s legendary record, paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant as soon as he won the United States Open.
The Serbian genius, after greeting his rival (the Russian Daniil Medvedev) and celebrating the title, He changed his shirt and put on one with a photo of him with the Los Angeles Lakers star..
On the shirt, on the front and with purple and gold details (like the Lakers’ colors), it said “Mamba forever” next to the photo (Mamba was Kobe’s nickname and “forever” is “forever” in English ).
Behind him was the number 24, a number that (along with 8) was worn by the iconic shooting guard in the Lakers and that coincides with the number of ‘grand slam’ that ‘Nole’ now has in his showcase.
“Kobe was a close friend,” he explained about a tribute he thought of making a week ago.
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36 years old, the Balkan was tied until today with Serena Williams
“We talked a lot about the mentality of winners, when I was having problems with injuries and trying to return to the elite of tennis. He was one of the people I trusted the most. She was always there to give advice, for any kind of support. in the most friendly way…”, he developed.
Djokovic said the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gigi in a helicopter crash in 2020 hurt him “deeply.”
“I thought that 24 was the shirt number he wore when he became a Lakers and basketball legend so I thought it could be a nice and symbolic thing to recognize him for all the things he did,” he concluded.