Two years ago Daniil Medvedev lost in five sets to Rafael Nadal at the US Open and vowed to come back stronger.
He was not going to be denied in New York again, even against world number one Novak Djokovic, who was chasing Rod Laver’s 52-year-old record as the last man to win a calendar slam.
The Russian still felt a bit bad about his triumph though, denying Djokovic the calendar grand slam, as well as the Serb’s 21st major title. Now he remains at 20 grand slam titles alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“I think it’s the first time saying my speech… I want to say sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he was going for today,” Medvedev said.
“I just want to say, what you accomplished this year and throughout your career, I never said this to anybody, but for me you are the greatest tennis player in history.”
Medvedev has had a love-hate relationship with the New York crowd. Djokovic was the obvious fan favourite in the final, but Medvedev said that was “completely understandable” with the tennis feat he was aiming for.
Before being handed his $US2.5 million cheque and the trophy after his first grand slam win, Medvedev revealed how he might spend the prizemoney.
“I want to finish my speech on a sweet note. It’s my third anniversary for me and my wife today, and during the tournament I couldn’t think of a present. So when I went in the final I thought, ‘If I lose I need to find a present fast. And if I win I have no time to find a present’.
“So, I love you Dasha, thanks a lot.”