"And so, so happy to be playing the final against this magnificent idol".
Remarkably given he began the season with elbow surgery following a hugely frustrating Australian Open, the Serb has now won three of his last four events including back-to-back majors.
"There was always part of me that imagined and believed and hoped that I can get back (to) the desired level of tennis very soon", said Djokovic, whose operation was in February.
It came in a final which was business-like rather than thrilling, a relief for a tournament still reeling from the controversial women's final on Saturday. Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray have now won 50 of the past 55 Grand Slams.
Del Potro led the ensuing tiebreaker, 3-1, before Djokovic recovered to win six of the next seven points and wrap up a 95-minunte second set. "He knows that he's one of my friend on tour".
"Of course I'm sad I (lost)", del Potro said. "You deserve to win".
Djokovic was better than del Potro on their many lengthy exchanges, using his trademark body-twisting, limb-splaying court coverage to get to almost every ball, sneakers squeaking around the blue court in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the roof was closed because of rain.
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After three solid service games in the opening set, he threw in two unforced errors to drop serve and the set.
Federer and Del Potro have had run-ins in the past.
The Argentine put his admiration aside Sunday and made it hard for Djokovic to gain an edge, despite the score of the first set.
Djokovic then got right back to work, and announced that he was, once more, himself by winning Wimbledon.
A focused Djokovic continued to apply pressure in the third set until Del Potro finally cracked on serve to fall behind 5-3, with the Serb closing out the match with a ferocious overhead victor.
The sixth seed survived three break points in the following game, an epic that lasted more than 20 minutes, in a pivotal moment.
The tension and fireworks of the Osaka-Williams clash were left behind during a relatively calm and composed baseline battle between two friends and familiar foes who had played each other 18 times, with Djokovic holding a commanding 14-4 edge.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the championship trophy after winning his men's Singles finals match as Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina looks on on Day Fourteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sun., Sept. 9, 2018, in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.