‘Russians know how to celebrate’: Daniil Medvedev promises to soak up US Open win

Daniil Medvedev said he will celebrate his breakthrough grand slam triumph for some time and in some style after the Russian overcame a wobble with victory in sight to ruin Novak Djokovic’s dream of a calendar slam in the US Open final on Sunday.

Medvedev had outplayed the man he considers the best ever in tennis for about two hours but when it came to finish off the Serb, his serve and body started to falter. He wobbled at the finish line, double-faulting twice in a row on match point at 5-2 after pausing due to heckling from the crowd. He double-faulted again on his second chance two games later before Djokovic netted on the third opportunity.

“I started cramping at 5-3, I think because of the pressure at 5-2 where I had match points,” Medvedev said. “My legs were gone after 5-3. At 5-4, left leg, I almost couldn’t walk. Again, 40-15, that’s two match points. I was like, ‘Come on, go for an ace, just try to make it’. I had a huge double fault. OK, I have one more. Just try to make a first serve. I made it and I’m really happy.”

He overcame the pressure and his opponent, beating Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to win his first grand slam title. Medvedev lost his two previous major finals, with Djokovic beating him in straight sets this year at the Australian Open.

On Sunday, he fell to the court in celebration in what he later revealed to be an imitation of the Fifa video game but was mindful of the moment and his first act of the trophy presentation was to apologise for ruining Djokovic’s dream before declaring him the greatest player of all time.

Medvedev is the second man born in the 1990s to win a slam singles title after last year’s champion, Dominic Thiem, and the third along with Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka to beat one of the big three in a slam final since Juan Martín del Potro defeated Federer in New York 12 years ago.

“I do feel sorry for Novak because I cannot imagine what he feels,” said Medvedev. “For the confidence and for my future career, knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0 in a year in grand slams, I lost to him in Australia, he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come.”

The 25-year-old, who lost to Nadal in five sets in his first final in New York two years ago, was planning to fully soak in the moment, saying with a smile: “Russians know how to celebrate. Hopefully, I will not get in the news. If I [do], it’s going to be in a good way. But I’m going to definitely celebrate the next few days.”

Djokovic distilled his emotions at the end into one word. “Relief,” he said. “I was glad it was over.”

The world No 1 was aiming to become the first man to win a 21st grand slam title, and the first for more than 50 years to complete the calendar grand slam. After giving himself a glimmer of hope by pulling back to 5-4 in the third set, Djokovic sat on his chair and sobbed with sheer gratitude. A game later, Medvedev celebrated victory.

Djokovic said: “Part of me is very sad. It’s a tough one to swallow, this loss, considering everything that was on the line.

“But, on the other hand, I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York. The crowd made me [feel] very special. I did not expect anything, but the amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something that I’ll remember for ever.

“That’s the reason on the changeover I just teared up. The emotion, the energy was so strong. It’s as strong as winning 21 grand slams. They touched my heart.” Agencies