US Open 2021 - 'You guys touched my soul' - Tearful Novak Djokovic tells fans his 'heart is filled with joy'
World number one Novak Djokovic was denied his calendar Grand Slam in the final of the US Open as Daniil Medvedev produced a memorable display to claim his maiden major title. Djokovic was unable to seal his 21st Grand Slam title, which would have taken him past the tallies of his great rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. For Medvedev, at least, it was a night to remember.
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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, but the top seed was left very touched by the support of the New York crowd.
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.
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.
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.
"I was thinking in both scenarios, visualising myself standing here in front of you guys and what would I say," Djokovic told the crowd.
"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.
Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic after the US Open final
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"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."
Novak Djokovic rompió a llorar en plena final del US Open 2021
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.
"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."