Daniil Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the U.S. Open on September 12 to win his first major title while denying the Serb’s historic run at becoming the first man to win a calendar Grand Slam in more than 50 years.
Medvedev’s 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the world No. 1 also ended Djokovic’s hopes to claim a record 21st men’s singles Grand Slam trophy and remains tied at 20 with Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain.
The world No. 2 Medvedev dominated Djokovic in the final match of the tournament in New York City, taking the first set in 36 minutes. He won the second set without surrendering a break, and in the third set he took a 4-0 lead before Djokovic rallied to within a game of the 25-year-old Russian at 5-4.
In the final game Medvedev double faulted on match point for the second time but composed himself and snatched victory on his third try.
Djokovic and Medvedev embraced for several seconds at the net after the match before Djokovic sat in his chair and covered his head and face in a towel, hiding a flood of emotion and tears.
During the trophy presentation ceremony, Djokovic, 34, congratulated Medvedev, saying, “If there is anyone who deserves to win the Grand Slam title right now it’s you.”
He also commented on the New York City fans, who had never shown much love for Djokovic but this time showered him with cheers and chants of “Nole, Nole, Nole.”
“I would like to say that tonight even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special on the court,” a tearful Djokovic said. “You guys touched my soul. I’ve never felt like this in New York.”
Djokovic had been chasing a calendar-year Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon earlier this year. Had he claimed the New York crown, it would have been the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since Rod Laver did it 52 years ago. The 83-year-old Laver of Australia was among 23,700 watching the final in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Medvedev tried to soothe his pain by saying, “Sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he was going for. What you have accomplished in your career…for me, you are the greatest tennis player in the history.”