Tennis great Rod Laver led tributes to Russian world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev who defeated Serbia’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets to lift the US Open trophy on Monday (IST).
Djokovic was trying to become the first man since Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in one season and break a tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major titles in history (20 each). But the 25-year-old Medvedev made history, winning his first major title with a stunning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 triumph, which prevented the Serb from completing the calendar Grand Slam.
“Simply stunning Daniil Medvedev, you stopped one of the greatest tonight. To win your first Grand Slam title is always special, to do it against a champion like Novak Djokovic is something else. Take heart Novak, the quest continues. Best wishes, (rocket symbol),” tweeted the 83-year-old Australian, who won 11 Grand Slam singles titles.
Another legend of the game, Billie Jean King, tweeted, “Congratulations to @DaniilMedwed the 2021 #USOpen Men’s Singles Champion. Credit to Medvedev who played spectacularly. As @rodlaver would say, you can’t have one bad match in a major, & Novak made too many unforced errors today. However, winning 3 of 4 Slams is remarkable.”
The last time Djokovic and Medvedev had squared off at a major championship, the Serbian had breezed past Medvedev in straight sets in this year’s Australian Open final. But this time around, Medvedev was up to the task. Two years after his five-set defeat in his first Grand Slam final against Rafael Nadal (US Open), the second seed denied Djokovic.
Medvedev said the title meant a lot to him.
“You never know if you’re going to achieve it in your career (again). Again I was always saying, ‘If I don’t, I just want to know that I did my best to do it’. That’s my first Grand Slam. I don’t know how I’m going to feel if I win a second one or third one. That’s my first one, so I’m really happy,” said Medvedev after the triumph.
Former US Open champion Andy Roddick tweeted, “Flawless match strategy by Medvedev. He deserved the win today. We still need to acknowledge how phenomenal Novak was this year (and for 15 years) Was fun to watch. Congrats to both!!”