It wasn’t the final we were expecting in the end. Whereas in Australia Djokovic won the final comfortably it was very much a case of role reversals last night. Having broken in the first game of the match Medvedev never found himself behind in his 6/4 6/4 6/4 victory and lands his first Slam title with it. There is no doubting this was a fully deserved win, not just on the night but for the two weeks, he has been the standout player, dropping just the one set to Botic Van De Zandschulp in the last eight.
Djokovic was chasing the calendar slam as we all know and from the outside, it looked like it had got a bit much for him, coupled with the fact he had spent more than five hours than his opponent on-court in NYC. There is no disgrace in that. I remember all too well Serena going for the same back in 2015 and coming within two matches of completing it before losing to Vinci. It is so tough! I have said it before and I will say it again, irrespective of what your feelings are towards Nole, you have to admire what he has done this year, if you don’t it says a lot about you. What pleased him the most was that he had full crowd support for almost the first time in New York. It led to the Serb breaking down in his chair when trailing 5-2 in the third set. By his standards, this performance was a million miles away from what you would have expected. There were numerous uncharacteristic backhand errors as he tried to finish points quickly and plenty of serve volleying. Physically it was clear he didn’t want long points and when he did get involved in them, Daniil was all over him. The Serb tried to vent some frustration by doing a number on his racket in the second set but even that didn’t reset him.
Daniil on the other hand came out swinging for the lines and serving huge. There was no such thing as a second serve in his vocabulary, they were just two first serves. There were a few nerves when he had a double break in the third and he missed a match point when trying to serve it out at the first time of asking by double-faulting. There were no such issues at the second attempt as he fell to the floor with a tribute dedicated to ‘The Dead Fish’ celebration on Fifa after an unreturnable on matchpoint. Managing to control the emotions at this stage show just how ice-cool he is under pressure. Not only that he did well to block out the loud and constant support for Nole, even when it started to get a little inappropriate towards the end. It takes me back to when I was courtside for his match against Feli Lopez two years ago in New York and how he has come on from then. He has been knocking on the door for a major and it hasn’t taken him that long to put it right. The Russian showed a lot of class and dignity in his on-court interview, apologising to the fans for ending the Calendar Slam dream and telling Novak that he believes the Serb is the GOAT.
It has been a fantastic two weeks in NYC as it always is. Medvedev also managed to get me out of trouble after my ante-post tips blog by claiming his quarter and the title, not a huge success all in all but better than it was looking a week ago. Now it is back to the weekly grind as we keep one eye on Melbourne in 2022.
Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).