Novak Djokovic's US Open post-match interview showed a new side to him

  • Zak Leech
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Sunday’s US Open final saw Novak Djokovic beaten convincingly by the Russian underdog Daniil Medvedev.

If this wasn’t surprising enough, eyebrows were definitely raised by Djokovic’s uncharacteristic emotional reaction to his defeat.

Medvedev’s impressive form saw him deny the Serb his 21st major, as well as a calendar Grand Slam victory that would have been the first in 52 years since Rod Laver in 1969.

In effect, this keeps Djokovic equal with both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slams each.

With the potential to break records as well as competing on a US stage, an audience that haven’t typically been supportive of European players, including Federer and Nadal, it seemed that Novak had gained the support of fans. This was to the detriment of his opposition when unsupportive fans cheered during Medvedev’s service motion and after his double faults.

It seemed that after many years, US fans had finally warmed to Novak and he was able to gain a fluidity through winning three games in a row with the crowd continually chanting ‘Nole!’ to rally this continual aggression.

Despite this, his support could not carry him to victory, as the 34-year-old seemed both mentally and physically tired after going five sets in Friday’s semi-final and was simply outclassed by his younger rival, with Medvedev winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

With this run of form, it would be unsurprising to see an enraged and despondent Djokovic, after all, he had already destroyed his racket previously in the evening. What perhaps was more memorable was the emotional post-match interview.

Djokovic told over 25,000 spectators: "Tonight, even though I have not one the match, my heart is filled with joy because you guys made me feel very special on the court."

His speech was accompanied by the roar of fans, and a reception of scale which Djokovic has never experienced since the start of his career in 2003. However, the lack of support the world number 1 has experienced in his career, seems to have fuelled him to that stage.

Instances such as being booed when retiring against Stan Wawrinka at the 2019 US Open seemed to have catalysed a comeback and strength to keep playing with Djokovic’s career benefiting from adversity.

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The events of Sunday saw a more emotional side to the traditional image of the cold ‘Serbinator’ and set the example for how a veteran should act in defeat.

Thankfully, this did little to mute the celebrations as after commemorating Djokovic’s performance, Medvedev said the crowd, despite their obvious support for his opposition, gave him ‘energy’ to compete, an energy much like his rival had experienced in the past and grown from to rise to the top.

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