Just 24 hours on from Emma Raducanu’s incredible victory in the women’s tournament, becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam trophy in history, the tennis world watched to see whether Novak Djokovic could become the first male player since Rod Laver to win the Grand Slam of major tournaments in a single year.
In the end, the Serbian came up short thanks to an inspired performance from Russian star Daniil Medvedev, who was quick to receive the congratulations of some of his peers following his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 straight sets victory.
— Dominic Thiem (@ThiemDomi) September 12, 2021
A Step To Far For Djokovic
After losing in the Olympic Games semi-final to Alexander Zverev, which ruled out Djokovic becoming only the second player ever to win a Golden Slam (of all four Majors, plus the Olympics in the same year – Steffi Graf is the only player to have achieved the feat), Djokovic seemed to have exorcised the demons of that loss in New York.
Meeting Zverev in the semi-final, Djokovic rallied to claim a narrow win over five-sets, but it was pretty evident from early on in this final, that reaching the final with some uncharacteristic dropped sets and tight games, had taken its toll on the World Number 1.
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The second seed Medvedev started strongly and broke Djokovic in his first service game. That proved to be the pivotal moment of that first set as Medvedev then hung on to his service game for the remainder of the set to claim the first set 6-4.
Things went from bad to worse for Djokovic who struggled to find any rhythm against his opponent. An early break in the second set put him up against it and he appeared to lack energy in his legs to claw back the deficit as Medvedev moved two sets clear.
When 4-0 down in the third, it appeared all over, but Djokovic did manage to break Medvedev back once, but despite a couple of shaky moments when serving at Championship point, the Russian hung on to claim his first and richly deserved Grand Slam title.
Wedding Anniversary Present
In a humorous aside from his winner’s speech, Daniil Medvedev revealed that it was the same date as his third wedding anniversary and that he had not been particularly on the ball when it came to thinking of a present for his wife, who was watching in the crowd.
“During the tournament I couldn’t think of a present or anything. When I made the final, I thought, if I lose I need to find a present fast! I have no time to find a present, I need to win this match!”
Somewhat oddly, despite his incredible success at the US Open, it may have taken this defeat for Djokovic to have been finally accepted by US Tennis fans. Often Djokovic has struggled to attract support in New York, but that wasn’t the case here as a clearly emotional Djokovic stated in his post-game speech.
“I was thinking…visualising myself standing here in front of you guys , wondering what I would say. I would like to say that 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.”
The result means that Djokovic remains on 20 Major wins alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and that Rod Laver was the last male player to complete the Grand Slam back in 1969.
It sets forth the 2022 season very nicely indeed, with Djokovic still the +130 favorite to win the Australian Open in January with BetRivers Sportsbook.