Novak Djokovic says he will 'keep going' after US Open win
As Novak Djokovic lifted the sparkling US Open trophy for the fourth time in his unbeatable career on Sunday evening, his defeated opponent, Daniil Medvedev, could be forgiven for wondering what might have been if the Serbian superstar simply wasn’t around anymore.
The Russian had already demonstrated his credentials on the courts of New York by beating Wimbledon champion and now former world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals to set up a repeat of the 2021 Flushing Meadows final against Djokovic.
Medvedev was the surprise winner two years ago, but that Grand Slam triumph has been the exception to the rule so far when it comes to having his name etched into tennis’ most prized pots.
In five career Grand Slam appearances, the 27-year-old has lost the other four. Twice to Rafael Nadal and twice to Djokovic. Having a top-flight tennis career in the same period as two of the greatest athletes to ever pick up a racket can be tough going.
But while Medvedev would almost certainly have more Grand Slams to his name had it not been for the presence of Nadal and Djokovic, who now have 46 major titles between them, the 6ft 6″ ace is grateful to have not only tested himself against the greatest players of all time but also for the help and encouragement he has had from Djokovic along the way.
Speaking on the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium following his 3–6, 6–7 (5–7), 3–6 defeat, Medvedev said: “On the one hand, I can say that it has been impressive to beat Novak in a Grand Slam final, so far it is the peak of my career. But if he and Rafa did not exist, which is not possible, I have played five finals against them and I have only been able to win one.
“Novak pushes me to be better. When I met him, being 500th in the world, he was very nice to me, he treated me like a normal person and he surprised me. And he continues to do it, nothing has changed, it doesn’t matter that he has 24 Grand Slams. That’s a great thing to say about a person.”
Medvedev soon realised what sort of evening he could be in for when Djokovic broke him in his very first service game to then race into a 3-0 lead. After losing the first set 6-3 the Russian provided much stiffer resistance in the second. He forced a tie-break which the Serb would ultimately win. That set would last 1 hour and 44 minutes.
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Djokovic had looked fatigued but winning the crucial second set had given him the extra lift that he needed to get the job done. Although the pair exchanged breaks early in the third set it was the veteran who took control, closing out the match to secure his record-breaking 24th slam title.
“I want to ask Novak, what are you still doing here?! When are you planning to slow down a little bit?” added Medvedev.
“I feel like I’ve not had a bad career and I’ve won 20 titles, but you’ve won 24 Grand Slams – wow.”
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