Novak Djokovic left heartbroken after US Open final defeat

Novak Djokovic left heartbroken after US Open final defeat

In the end, Novak Djokovic simply ran out of steam. Having played five hours and 35 minutes more than opponent Daniil Medvedev en route to the US Open final, Djokovic simply couldn’t cope with the Russian’s power, speed and superior fitness levels. The ultimate prize of a calendar slam was snatched away from Djokovic at the last.

But despite his dream dying in the New York night, Djokovic was able to take comfort from the support given to him by the Flushing Meadows crowd. All night they had roared him on, and in many ways Medvedev’s victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that the crowd was on the Serbian’s side. The support struck a chord with the world number one.

“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. You guys touched my soul,” Djokovic said after the match. “I’ve never felt like this in New York, honestly. I’ve never felt like this. I love you guys. Thank you so much for your support. I love you and I’ll see you soon.”

Djokovic’s demise showcased the brutal difficulty of what he was trying to achieve. To win any Grand Slam is difficult, to win all four over the course of your career is a dream for most, but to win all four majors in the same calendar year is an almost impossible feat in the modern game, where the talent runs so deep in the rankings.

The Serbian couldn’t cope with Medvedev on Sunday. The Russian was in full flow, sending Djokovic all over the court, further wearing down his already aching legs. Djokovic attempted to shorten the points, approaching the net more regularly than he usually would, but Medvedev was able to easily pick him off. Nothing the 20-time Grand Slam champion attempted came off, and he was left to count the cost in the end.

Of course, full credit must go to Medvedev. He more than deserved the win on what was his third appearance in a Grand Slam final. Having lost the previous two, the Russian clearly had a singular focus on getting the job done this time around and defying the pre-match odds on Betdaq. Now that Medvedev has got that first Grand Slam title under his belt, he should be able to play with a bit more freedom from now on.

For Djokovic, it simply wasn’t meant to be. He may never get another opportunity to win a calendar Grand Slam, but the most important thing is that he has drawn level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles in total. 2022 promises to be hugely intriguing in the battle to be the first to hit that magic number of 21.

If there is any crumb of comfort for Djokovic to take from the US Open final, it is that the crowd were on his side. For various reasons, he has never enjoyed the same kind of popularity as Federer or Nadal, but at Flushing Meadows, the watching masses were willing him on to complete the unique sporting achievement he was aiming at.

“Of course, part of me is very sad,” Djokovic reflected. “It’s a tough one to swallow, this loss, I mean, considering everything that was on the line.

“But on the other hand I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York. The crowd made me very special. They pleasantly surprised me. I did not know, I did not expect anything, but the amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something that I’ll remember forever. I mean, that’s the reason on the changeover I just teared up. The emotion, the energy was so strong. I mean, it’s as strong as winning 21 Grand Slams. That’s how I felt, honestly. I felt very, very special.”

 

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