Daniil Medvedev wins US Open, Novak Djokovic misses Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic has said he is going to play this game as if it is the last of his career, that he will devote every ounce of his heart a...

Novak Djokovic has said he is going to play this game as if it is the last of his career, that he will devote every ounce of his heart and soul to trying to do what few thought they could do again.

It was not enough.

With a startling display of power and creativity, Daniil Medvedev upset Djokovic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in the US Open final on Sunday, ending Djokovic’s attempt to become the first man. in 52 years to win everything. four Grand Slam tournaments in a calendar year. It was a final twist in a tournament that overflowed with breathtaking performances.

For at least a year, Rod Laver will remain the sole member of modern men’s tennis most exclusive club, and the 2021 US Open will forever be primarily owned by an 18-year-old Briton named Emma Raducanu, who rose from the 150th ranked player. to a Grand Slam champion in the most unlikely tennis history of all.

It was supposed to be Djokovic’s moment, the day he would finally overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and officially become the greatest player of all time.

Instead, whatever spirits pull the strings of this particularly infuriating sport, they stepped in in the form of a lanky 25-year-old Russian, a neighbor of Djokovic in their adopted homeland of Monaco which is now sure to create a number of awkward encounters in Monte Carlo. cafes and grocery stores and at the local tennis club where they both train.

Medvedev started quickly, breaking Djokovic’s serve in the first game of the game and giving Djokovic little chance of taking the first set. It wasn’t supposed to matter. Djokovic, 34, had been shaking at the start of games for two weeks, before raising his level and coming back win after win. Surely he would flip the script once more.

And he had the opening, three break points on Medvedev’s first serve set, then another with Medvedev serving at 1-2 in the second set, when the audio system malfunctioned and interrupted one of the Medvedev’s services, giving him another chance to save the game.

When Medvedev took this point and then another, the weight of it all finally shattered the man who had seemed unbreakable. Djokovic took down his racquet with a violent slap on a court that had given him so many championships before.

A match later, Medvedev wrapped a backhand on Djokovic’s toes as he charged towards the net, and when Djokovic’s volley floated long, the chance to crush a dream was only a few more games away. and a set away.

“He was aiming for a huge story,” Medvedev said. “Knowing that I managed to stop it definitely makes it sweeter.”

Djokovic had recently beaten Medvedev in an unbalanced battle in February for his ninth Australian Open title, a moment that feels like a lifetime ago, when no one was talking about someone winning a Grand Slam.

And yet, when the US Open draw came out two weeks ago, it seemed intimidating for Djokovic. Matteo Berrettini, the Italian with important service, appeared in the quarter-finals. Alexander Zverev, the talented German who beat Djokovic in the Olympics and was the hottest player in the world at the start of that tournament, was probably his nemesis in the semi-finals. And if Djokovic could get through these players, he would most likely meet Medvedev, the second best player in the world, whose game, an alluring mixture of power and tricks, seems to become more and more dangerous with each passing month. He was a fitting final hurdle for Djokovic in chasing the biggest prize in their sport.

Medvedev is 6 feet 6 inches tall and as skinny as a bamboo pole. At first glance, it looks like nobody’s idea of ​​a professional athlete. He’ll rush down the field creating shots few can see coming, then bomb an ace or hit a flat backhand down the line.

Entering the tournament, conventional wisdom held that the only way to beat Djokovic was to take the racket out of his hands with so many sunk balls that one of the sport’s greatest defenders would not be able to survive the tournament. ‘assault.

Medvedev did this and more, pushing Djokovic back on his heels and handcuffing him to the net on those few points that decide every tennis match, with history at stake and 23,000 fans desperate to witness it.

For Djokovic, the loss was a disappointment that hardly anyone other than Serena Williams could relate to. She was the last player to participate in the last major league of the year with a Grand Slam shot. She also fell to an outsider, the Italian Roberta Vinci, on the same pitch at Arthur Ashe stadium, in the semi-final of 2015.

On a personal level, this loss likely stung Djokovic in a way Williams may never have felt. Djokovic has spent most of his adult life chasing legends who claimed the sport as theirs just a few years before bursting onto the scene. He proved early on that he could be the equal of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, then sagged, only to come back stronger and repeat the cycle over and over again.

He entered this tournament tied with Federer and Rafael Nadal in the race for the most career Grand Slam titles, with 20. He desperately wants this record, to seal his legacy as the greatest player in the world. history of tennis.

Djokovic’s Serbian compatriots revere him, but he was mostly unloved elsewhere, until Sunday, when everyone apparently wanted to see him deliver. Djokovic has spent more time being ranked world No.1 than Nadal or Federer, and is the only one with a record of victories against these two main rivals. Yet nothing would declare him the greatest of all like winning all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year.

Federer and Nadal have never been close and probably never will be. This year, Djokovic beat Nadal in his kingdom in Paris, where he won 13 Roland Garros titles. Then Djokovic captured Wimbledon for the sixth time in July, on the grass that Federer has long treated as his lawn.

He was unable to win the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo this summer for the fourth gem of the so-called Golden slam, something that only Steffi Graf has accomplished.

Djokovic soaked up the adoration of his fellow athletes in the Olympic Village, but lost to Zverev in the semi-final and then to Pablo CarreƱo Busta in the bronze medal match. The heat and weight of the trip was starting to take its toll.

Djokovic took almost a month off, then came to New York to complete his assignment, to make things right. A year ago, he kicked a ball in anger after losing the first set of his fourth-round match at the US Open, regardless of the direction of the ball. He rocketed to the throat of a linesman, requiring automatic disqualification.

Djokovic’s first six games at the 2021 US Open followed a generally familiar pattern – a few early tremors, including losses in the opening sets of four straight games, before Djokovic the Assassin emerged to deal with the business.

It took five sets against Zverev in the semi-finals. When it was over, and there was only one game left to play, Djokovic embraced the size of the moment at hand – with his heart and soul and all he had. Surely that would be enough.

Tennis, however, can be so difficult at times, even for the greatest player in the world, who had made it seem so easy for so long.

He refused to take it easy, staying firm at the end of the third set and saving the match point as Medvedev succumbed to the pressure of closing his first Grand Slam title. He produced two double faults and a nasty backhand in the net, and Djokovic straddled the deafening cheers of the crowd to fight inside a game.

It had taken the fans so long to support him, a whole career in fact, but now they were there, and as Djokovic sat in his chair he smiled at the crowd, cried momentarily and pumped his fist, all the while knowing how deep the hole he had dug was.

Maybe someday this moment will serve as decent consolation for not winning the Grand Slam. He would later say that those enthusiastic cheers meant as much as a 21st Grand Slam title. There are worse things.

Back on the pitch, Medvedev had his almost insurmountable lead, and he made sure not to lose his second chance to serve the championship. He did one last serve that Djokovic couldn’t recover over the net, ending the most difficult quest in a way few could have imagined.

There wouldn’t be a Grand Slam, but there was love, and Djokovic, who is both sentimental, warrior, and deep thinker with a brash streak that often got him in trouble, knew that this was not nothing.

“My heart is filled with joy and I am the happiest man in the world because you made me feel this on the pitch,” he said just before lifting a plate instead of a trophy . “I’ve never felt like this.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Daniil Medvedev wins US Open, Novak Djokovic misses Grand Slam
Daniil Medvedev wins US Open, Novak Djokovic misses Grand Slam
Newsrust - US Top News
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