Daniil Medvedev won the US Open, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the final, thus failing to achieve the Grand Slam on a year, Sunday in New York. For 27 Grand Slam matches in 2021, on clay, hard court or grass, Djokovic had not been defeated and he only needed one last victory to make history. Novak Djokovic covered his face with a towel, hiding his tears.
Russian Daniil Medvedev had other plans in mind, however, dominating the Serb in three sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, Sunday to win the U.S. Open.
“Relief. I’m glad it’s over because it was tough to deal with mentally and emotionally,” he said. I felt sadness, disappointment, but also gratitude to the crowd and the special moment they created for me,” said Novak.
Novak Djokovic covered his face with a towel, hiding his tears.
Rod Laver was the last man to complete the calendar Grand Slam, in 1969. He had also achieved the feat a few years earlier, in 1962. Steffi Graf was the last woman to accomplish this difficult task, in 1988.
Medvedev deprived tennis fans of a piece of history, but he won’t complain because he has just won his first career major title.
The Russian, who lost in the final at Flushing Meadows in 2019, got sweet revenge against Djokovic, who defeated him in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
The Serbian and tournament favorite was not only trying to catch up with Laver, but he was trying to get a 21st major singles title, which would have broken the tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
In June, Djokovic managed to win the French Open despite falling two sets to none to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. Despite a small collapse in the third set, Medvedev didn’t let it get to him.
Under pressure, and with huge expectations, the 34-year-old was simply not at his best on Sunday.
“He is so good that every game is different. He changes his tactics or his approach,” Medvedev said. I had a clear plan, which seemed to work. Was he at his best? Maybe not today. He was facing a lot of pressure, but so was I.”
Djokovic made several errors, including 38 unforced errors. He wasn’t able to convert a break point until the end of the third set, when the outcome of the match already seemed sealed.
“Daniil was amazing. I have to congratulate him and give him credit for his approach, his game, his mentality,” said Djokovic. He was definitely the better player and he deserved to win.”
The Serb also showed a lot of frustration, breaking a racket on court after one game, which drew boos from the massive crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The head referee even gave him a warning.
“I felt slow,” Djokovic said. I know I could have and should have done better.”
“I feel really bad for Novak because I can’t imagine how he feels right now,” expressed Medvedev. Knowing that I was able to slow him down makes it even more enjoyable. It gives me confidence for the future.”
During the presentation of the trophies, the Russian turned to Djokovic and mentioned that for him he was the best player in the history of tennis.
Djokovic was playing in his 31st career Grand Slam final, tying an all-time record on the men’s side. He won six titles in New York.