What was the reason behind Novak Djokovic donning a Kobe Bryant shirt post his victory at the US Open?

Novak Djokovic has explained why he decided to wear a Kobe Bryant shirt after beating Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

American NBA legend Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash three years ago at the age of 41 along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.

Djokovic said in his post-match interview that he was close with the Los Angeles Lakers hero and wanted to pay tribute to the basketball great in front of the New York crowd.

‘I thought by doing the t-shirt… I didn’t share it with anyone until a few days ago,’ the Serbian said in his on-court interview.

‘Kobe was a close friend, we chatted a lot about the winners mentality when I was struggling with injury and try to work my way back to the top he was one of the people I relied on the most he was always there for support in the most friendly way.

‘His passing hurt me deeply and 24 is the jersey he wore at Lakers so I thought it would be nice to acknowledge him.’

Djokovic has won seven of the last 12 Grand Slams – absent from two of those and a finalist in two others – and says his 24th trophy ‘means the world’ to him as he further cemented his position as arguably the greatest tennis player of all time.

‘I don’t know where to start, this means the world to me,’ Djokovic added. ‘I’m repeating myself but I have to say every time that I’m living my childhood dream to compete at this highest level.

‘To make history on this court is truly remarkable and special, in every way and every meaning of the word special.

‘I had a dream when I was seven – I wanted to become the best player in the world and win Wimbledon that was the only thing I wanted.

‘But I started to dream new dreams, I never imagined I would be standing talking about 24 Grand Slams but the last couple of years I’ve felt I have a chance and I have a shot at history and why not grab it.’