Medvedev’s surprisingly uneven triumph gave him his first major championship and prevented Djokovic from winning what would have been his 21st career record.
Ranking No. 1 Djokovic entered this match 27-0 in 2021 in the sport’s four biggest tournaments, enduring the burdens of expectation and pressure that came along with his quest for history on two tracks over the past seven months and , in New York, the last two weeks.
He beat Medvedev in the Australian Open final on a hard court in February, then added titles on clay at the French Open in June and Wimbledon on grass in July.
But Djokovic, a 34-year-old Serb, failed to make it 28-0. He was simply far from his prime on this particular day.
He made mistakes, 38 unforced errors in all. He couldn’t convert a break opportunity until it was too little, too late. He also showed frustration, destroying his racket by hitting it three times on the court after one point, prompting boos from the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd and a violation of the chair umpire code.
Many of Djokovic’s problems had to do with Medvedev, the ranking No. 2, who used his 1.98-meter body to chase everything and respond with seemingly effortless groundstrokes, the same way that Djokovic wears down his opponents. enemies. and punctual service delivered.
Djokovic reached his record-breaking 31st Grand Slam final with six victories on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows. But he couldn’t get the last one he needed.
Stay tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 important titles.
And the last man to sweep a season’s individual trophies in the Slams it remains Rod Laver, who did it twice _ in 1962 and 1969 _ and was in the stands Sunday. The last woman to achieve the feat was Steffi Graf in 1988.
Instead, Djokovic joins Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956 as men who won the first trio of one-year Grand Slam tournaments and made it to the US Open final before losing.