Daniil Medvedev procured his first significant title by beating Novak Djokovic unexpectedly in a dazzling upset Sunday in the US Open men’s final.
Medvedev denied Djokovic a triumph that would have given him the first calendar year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969, beating the No. 1-ranked player 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
“First of all, I want to say ‘sorry’ for you fans and Novak, because, I mean, we all know what he was going for today,” said Medvedev, a 25-year-old from Russia who lost to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open final and to Rafael Nadal in the 2019 US Open final.
Then, at that point, moving in the direction of Djokovic, Medvedev offered praise for “what you accomplished this year and throughout your career” and added: “I never said this to anybody, but I’ll say it right now. For me, you are the greatest tennis player in history.”
Djokovic committed a ton of errors in the match and admitted as much a while later. However, a great deal of his issues had to do with Medvedev, who used his 6-foot-6 frame to chase down everything and react with apparently easy groundstrokes – much the manner in which Djokovic wears out enemies – and delivered pinpoint serving.
Medvedev won 20 of his first 23 service points, building up a pattern. He got done with 16 aces and 38 winners altogether, 11 a larger number of than Djokovic. In the wake of conquering numerous double faults on match point, Medvedev at last completed the job, then, at that point overturned to the court on his side – a tribute to the “dead fish celebration” in the popular soccer video game FIFA.
“Russians know how to celebrate,” Medvedev said. “Hopefully I will not get in the news. If I get, it’s going to be in a good way. But I’m going to definitely celebrate the next few days.”
The last man to finish a true Grand Slam by going 4-for-4 at the majors in a single season remains Rod Laver, who did it twice – in 1962 and 1969 – and was in the stands Sunday. The last woman to achieve the feat was Steffi Graf in 1988.
After a five-set success over Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Alexander Zverev in the semifinals Friday night, Djokovic looked forward to what in particular anticipated in the final and announced, “I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.”
However, he came out a bit cool Sunday, double-faulting in every one of his initial two service games and mixing in enough groundstroke miscues – bowing his head or rolling his eyes after some – that 12 minutes in, Medvedev was a point from a second break and a 3-0 lead. Djokovic eventually used several experts at 117 and 124 mph to hold there, yet it was Medvedev who got everyone’s attention in the early going.
“Every match was different just because [Djokovic’s] so good that every match is different,” Medvedev said of his game plan heading into the match. “He changes his tactics, he changes his approach. Was he at his best? Maybe not today. He had a lot of pressure.
“I had a lot of pressure, too, about the risk on the second serve, it was because of the confidence I had. I knew I cannot give him easy serves because that’s what he likes. So that was the plan. Because of the confidence in a lot of tight moments, I managed to do it well.”
This was the fifth sequential match where Djokovic dropped the first set – and eleventh in Grand Slam play this year. Dissimilar to in different examples, he was unable to return.
Medvedev, who lost just one set in the whole competition, didn’t permit it.
“For the confidence and for my future career,” Medvedev said, “knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0 in a year in Grand Slams … he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him, it definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come on hard courts so far, but let’s see about other surfaces.”