Tearful Novak Djokovic Faces Grief of Slam Calendar, Crowd Love | Tennis News
World number one Djokovic missed the first Slam of the calendar year since 1969 in the final hurdle on Sunday, losing to second Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Relief. I was glad it was over,” Djokovic said of his feelings in the moments following the loss.
“The preparation for this tournament and everything I have had to deal with mentally and emotionally throughout the tournament over the past two weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to deal with,” said Djokovic.
“I was just happy that the race was finally over. At the same time, I felt sadness, disappointment and also gratitude for the crowd and for this special moment that they created for me on the ground.”
“I love you guys.” All of @DjokerNole’s feelings to New York fans. https://t.co/PnEHevMVKk
– US Open tennis (@usopen) 1631487252000
Djokovic also missed a fourth US Open title and a 21st career Grand Slam, leaving him deadlocked on the men’s record of 20 Slam trophies with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“So many different emotions,” he said. “Part of me is very sad. It’s hard to swallow this loss, considering everything that was at stake.
“But on the other hand, I felt something that I have never felt in my life here in New York. The crowd made me very special. They pleasantly surprised me.”
With two sets and two breaks, US Open fans applauded Djokovic’s retaliation with a spirit he says will stay with him for as long as a Grand Slam could have had him.
Respect between competitors. https://t.co/teGc0ZwVLK
– US Open tennis (@usopen) 1631487102000
“The amount of support, energy and love that I received from the crowd is something that I will remember forever,” said Djokovic. “That’s the reason I just tore up during the change. The emotion, the energy was so strong.
“It’s as strong as winning 21 Grand Slam tournaments. That’s how I felt, very special. They touched my heart. It’s the kind of times you cherish. It was just wonderful. ”
Djokovic admitted he didn’t have the game to stick with a determined Medvedev from the start.
“I was just below my game average,” said Djokovic. “My legs weren’t there. I was trying. I tried my best. I made a lot of unforced errors. I didn’t really serve.
“Just one of those days that unfortunately wasn’t meant to be. I know I could and should have done better. It’s a very difficult loss.”
Daniil Medvedev stuns Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win #USOpen https://t.co/Ksup0ClAEI
– US Open tennis (@usopen) 1631486014000
Djokovic took a first look at a year that brought Australian and French Open titles and a crown at Wimbledon, but heartache in New York and no medals at the Tokyo Olympics .
“It was also an emotionally very demanding time for me over the past five or six months,” he said.
“Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the last stage. But when you draw a line you have to be very happy with the year. Three wins, three slams and one final. I have to be proud of everything I have. accomplished.
“In tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page. Very soon there are more challenges, more things to come. I learned how to overcome those kind of tough defeats in the Slam final, the ones that make the very bad.
“I’m going to try to learn from it, learn, be stronger and keep going. As long as there is motivation and that flair, I will keep riding.”
It was time for @DaniilMedwed to shine at the #USOpen Highlights of the men’s singles final 👇 https://t.co/hfP58Ilnio
– US Open tennis (@usopen) 1631490999000
Djokovic faces a new set of rising stars in his twenties, including Medvedev and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who beat him in the Olympic semi-final and took him to five sets in the semi-finals of the US Open.
And there is the inevitable moment when legends like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have to step aside.
“The older guys are always hanging on. We’re always trying to shed light on the tennis world as much as possible,” he said.
“I always want to keep going, trying to win more Slams, playing for my country. These are the things that motivate me the most, I think at this point.
“But the new generation is not new. It is already current. Established. Of course, they will take over. I think tennis is in good hands.”