Relief: Djokovics Bid For Year Slam Ends Against Medvedev

Medvedev won 20 of his first 23 service points, establishing a pattern. He finished with 16 aces and 38 winners in all, 11 more than Djokovic.

After overcoming multiple double-faults on match point, Medvedev finally finished the job, then toppled over to the court on his side with his tongue hanging out, which he explained afterward was inspired by a goal celebration from a soccer video game.

"First of all, I want to say ‘sorry' for you fans and Novak, because, I mean, we all know what he was going for today," said Medvedev, a 25-year-old from Russia who entered the day 0-2 in major finals, including a five-set loss to Nadal in the 2019 U.S. Open final.

Then, turning toward Djokovic, Medvedev offered praise for "what you accomplished this year and throughout your career" and added: "I never said this to anybody, but I'll say it right now. For me, you are the greatest tennis player in history."

In recent years, there has been constant discussion and debate about which member of the so-called Big Three — Federer, who turned 40 last month, Nadal, 35, or Djokovic — deserves to be considered the best of the bunch and the "GOAT" ("Greatest of All-Time").

Even with Sunday's setback, Djokovic has accumulated statistics that help people make the case for him. He is the only one of that dominant trio to have won four majors in a row across two seasons, in 2015-16. He is the only one with at least two titles at each major tournament. He is the only player who has won each of the next-tier Masters 1000 events at least twice, too. He has spent more weeks than anyone at No. 1 since the ATP computerized rankings began in 1973, surpassing Federer for that accolade in March. And he holds the edge in head-to-head matchups against both of his long-time rivals.

After a five-set win over Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Alexander Zverev in the semifinals Friday night, Djokovic looked ahead to what awaited in the final and declared, "I'm going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I'm going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career."

But Medvedev lost only one set in the entire tournament and never allowed Djokovic to get into this match.

From the start, Djokovic was not quite himself. He got to love-40 in Medvedev's first service game of the second set but did not come through on any of those break points. On the third, Djokovic put a sliced backhand in the net, then pounded his racket against his left thigh -- one, two, three, four times, perhaps as disappointed in his footwork as anything.

Thousands in the audience tried to boost him by chanting his nickname, "No-le! No-le! No-le!" After some of Medvedev's faults, some in the stands would applaud, considered poor form in tennis and repeatedly admonished with a "please" from Dumusois.

By the end, the deficit grew too large for Djokovic, the climb too steep.

"I was below par with everything, to be honest," he said. "So just one of these days where, unfortunately, wasn't meant to be."

Source : https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/medvedev-ends-djokovic-s-bid-for-year-slam-at-us-open

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