Winners Daniil Medvedev (R) of Russia and Novak Djokovic of Serbia hold their trophies after the men’s final match of the 2021 US Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2021 in New York City.
Kena Betankur | AFP | Getty Images
Novak Djokovic’s hopes for a Grand Slam and 21st major schedule were dashed when Daniil Medvedev knocked out world number one in the US Open final.
Djokovic’s dream was to become the third man after Don Buzz (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) to win all four majors in the same year.
To add to the weight of history on his shoulders, the victory saw him overtake great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to become the first man to win his 21st Slam singles title.
But Medvedev ended his chances with a scintillating performance to achieve the third chance in a Grand Slam final, at least a real blow to the younger generation against the old guard 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Medvedev said: “First of all I want to apologize to you fans and to Novak because we all know what he did today and I just want to say what you have accomplished this year. and throughout your career. I never said that to anyone. But I will say it now, to me you are the greatest tennis player in history.
“I want to thank my team. Winning a Slam is not an easy journey, but I really appreciate your helping me along the journey.
Addressing the crowd, the Russian said: “So I want to thank you guys. You were probably a bit too much for Novak today, but that’s totally understandable. You gave me a lot of energy all week. It gave me a lot of energy. Helped me through today. It was not easy but thank you very much.
“Last but not least, I want to end my speech on a very sweet note. Today is my third birthday and my wife and I couldn’t think of a giveaway or anything during the tournament. When I won the only thing I thought about was if I lose I don’t have time to find any prizes so I have to win this game. I love you Dasha.
Medvedev was well beaten by Djokovic in the Australian Open final in February, but he showed in the first set that he wasn’t going to make the same mistake, achieving a clinch and losing only three points to serve.
Djokovic gave up his first service game 40-15 and couldn’t touch Medvedev after that. Russia never gave up their lead and became the fifth player in a row to win Djokovic’s first set at the US Open.
Things didn’t go as planned for the Serbian, whose serve and volley strategy didn’t seem to bother Medvedev in the battle for the top two seeds.
Medvedev was playing his third Grand Slam final and his second this year, losing to Djokovic, 34, at the Australian Open. He entered the game by simply losing a set while showing brutal tennis along the way.
The pace was not in Djokovic’s feet and he seemed compromised physically, whether it was stress, fatigue or a combination of the two.
His disappointment didn’t last long in the fourth game of the second set. After failing to convert a few break points, he repeatedly destroyed his racket on the field, earning a warning.
Medvedev seized the moment with a 3-2 break and served the set to step into one of the first Grand Slam titles.
His attacking play proved too difficult for Djokovic and this time in the opener of the third set he again broke the resistance of the seed.
Medvedev troubled Djokovic on the second break of his service to take a 3-0 lead. The Russian worked for the title but fell at the finish line to beat the world No.1.
An emotional Djokovic covered his face with his towel and cried in support of stadium attendees Arthur Ashe and Hollywood royalty before stepping out in Game 10.
Medvedev again double faulted on his second match point, but in the third Djokovic scored and Medvedev became the first man since Rafael Nadal in 2010 and Ivan Lendl in 1987 to drop just one set in his path to the title. Become the first player. At New York.
Through tears, Djokovic, whose insatiable desire to win always comes with immensely admirable grace in defeat, said: “I would like to start by congratulating Daniel, great game, great tournament.
“If there’s anyone who deserves a Grand Slam title right now, you’ve done a great job.”
Addressing the crowd, he said, “I was thinking about both scenarios, imagining myself standing here in front of you and what would I say.
“I mean tonight, even though I didn’t win the game, my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest person because you made me feel so special on the pitch.”