US Open 2021 - 'I thought I was in big trouble' - 'Super happy' Daniil Medvedev on surviving late cramps
"It’s tough to soak in," Daniil Medvedev told Eurosport. "I am still cramping a little bit because of nerves. I was cramping in the last game of the match, and I thought if I didn’t make the game I was in big trouble to win these championships. I am just super happy, because when I play against these guys, I’ve lost two finals."
Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia to win the Men's Singles final match on Day Fourteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Novak Djokovic saw his dream of a 21st major title and the calendar Grand Slam fade away as Daniil Medvedev produced a stunning performance to win the US Open, and the Russian has given his reaction to Eurosport.
Medvedev was utterly imperious as he stormed to a straight-sets, 6-4 6-4 6-4, victory inside a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium, while Djokovic was left unable to follow his triumphs at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon earlier in the year.
The world number one was flat and devoid of his usual spark throughout as he failed to claim the 21st Grand Slam title which would have taken him past the tallies of his great rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Serb was left very emotional as the supportive crowd willed him to recover in the final stages, and he was visibly tearful both at the end of the match and when thanking the fans in his post-match speech.
But Medvedev deserves all the credit after the number two seed held his composure and irresistible level of play until the very end to secure his first Grand Slam title and follow Marat Safin as a Russian men's singles champion in New York.
After the match, the new champion spoke with Eurosport's Mats Wilander about his emotions and overcoming Djokovic, and some late cramps, to triumph on the biggest stage.
"It’s tough to soak in," Medvedev told Eurosport. "He definitely could have played better; I could have played better. But my serve was really good today, I am really happy with it.
I am still cramping a little bit because of nerves. I was cramping in the last game of the match, and I thought if I didn’t make the game I was in big trouble to win these championships.
"I am just super happy, because when I play against these guys, I’ve lost two finals. When I had Novak again, I was scared in a way because I thought if he destroys me one more time it will bring my confidence down. I’m really happy to win.
"The funny thing about Novak is with many players you need a plan in your head. With Novak, you need 15 because every game I’ve played with him, either that I’ve won or lost, was different. He was nervous, I was nervous – that’s tennis.
"I love my, we can call it Russian style, when I don’t celebrate too many victories. I try not to show too many emotions because it actually helps me. If I showed a lot of emotions there would be a lot of bad ones also."
Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic after the US Open final
Image credit: Getty Images
Medvedev, who muted his celebrations to respect both the crowd and Djokovic with the calendar Grand Slam having been on the line, paid tribute to his friend in his speech after the match.
"First of all, sorry for you the fans and Novak," Medvedev said in his winning speech.
"We all know what he was going for today. What you have achieved this year and throughout your career, for me, I have never said this before, you are the greatest tennis player in the history.
"I want to thank my team, those who are here and watching. My parents, my family, my sisters. Some of my friends are here - thank you guys, because it is not an easy journey to win a Slam. I'm really thankful to you for helping me throughout this journey.
"I want to thank you guys [the crowd]. Today it was maybe a little bit more for Novak, but that's completely understandable. Throughout the week you guys gave me a lot of energy. Starting from 2019, long ago, it helped me through to today. It was not easy but thanks a lot guys."
Novak Djokovic rompió a llorar en plena final del US Open 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
Djokovic paid tribute both to Medvedev and to the fans in his speech: "I was thinking in both scenarios, visualising myself standing here in front of you guys and what would I say.
"Thank you so much, guys. Congratulations to Daniil. Amazing match, amazing tournament. If there is anyone that deserves a Grand Slam title right now it is you, so well done.
"To your team, you have an amazing team, you are one of the greatest guys on the tour, we get along very well. I wish you many more Grand Slams, many more majors to follow, and I am sure you will be on this stage again in the future.
"I would like to say that tonight, even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I am the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special on the court.
You guys touched my soul. I have never felt like this is New York. I love you guys.
"Thank you so much for your support and everything you have done tonight for me. I love you and I will see you soon. Thank you."