By Mukwuzi Joseph
Danil Medvedev is the men’s champion at the 2021 US Open and the Russian did it in style, beating history-chasing Novak Djokovic in three straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in two hours and 15 minutes. Medvedev was a beaten finalist in 2019 but on Sunday he denied Djokovic a 21st Grand Slam title and the opportunity of being the first man since Rod Laver to win all Grand Slam titles in one calendar year.
Medvedev celebrated with his usual salmon dive, after a quite extraordinary run to his first Grand Slam title.
It was a revenge for the Australian Open loss in February where Djokovic won his 18th Grand Slam title. In their 10th head-to-head meeting, the 25-year-old exacted his pound of flesh by winning his first Grand Slam title. Medvedev also made the 20-time Grand Slam champion cry-in the ninth game of the third set as the Serb was overcome with emotion after hanging in with a win.
The Arthur Ashe crowd were given a fist bump and a smile but it was too late to stage another of his famous come-from-behind rallies even though Medvedev showed jitters and nervousness, as he neared the end of the match, serving five double-faults in the third set.
Medvedev made good his promise to leave everything on the court as his full-blooded serves and returns left Djokovic off-balance almost throughout the encounter. “I feel like I didn’t leave my heart on the court in Melbourne,” he told reporters after his semi-final victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. “
“That’s what I’m going to try to do on Arthur Ashe with hopefully 100 percent of fans. No matter the score, I’m just going to turn up the heat.”
He served 16 aces and 38 winners and won 98 points compared to 83 for Djokovic.
In his pursuit of greatness and history, Djokovic has never received the sort of adulation that his peers – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – have received especially in New York but he finally received just a piece of what his greatness deserves on Sunday, but in defeat.
He will be back, especially with the 2022 Australian Open just months away but right now, the tennis world celebrates a new US Open champion – Medvedev.