By Ben Morse and Amir Vera, CNN
Daniil Medvedev won his first grand slam title Sunday, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the US Open final and ending the world No. 1’s hopes of completing a calendar grand slam.
The 25-year-old Medvedev, playing in his third grand slam final, became the third Russian man to win a major singles title and the ninth different US Open men’s singles champion of the last 14 years.
After his victory, he thanked friends, family and fans for giving him energy throughout the week. He ended his speech by wishing his wife a happy anniversary.
“During the tournament I couldn’t think of a present or anything, but if I lose I have to think of a present,” Medvedev said.
The world No. 2 also praised Djokovic, who was in tears after the match, for his accomplishments.
“For me, you are the greatest tennis player in the history,” Medvedev said.
In return, Djokovic said that his opponent deserved to win the title: “I wish you many more grand slams, many more majors, I’m sure you’ll be on this stage in the future again,” he said.
Djokovic had been looking to win a record 21st grand slam title and complete the first men’s calendar grand slam — winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year — since Rod Laver in 1969.
Sunday’s match means Djokovic remains tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 grand slam titles.
Medvedev, who defeated 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in straight sets to reach the final, lost to Rafael Nadal in five sets in the 2019 US Open final and fell in the Australian Open final to Djokovic in straight sets earlier this year.
However, Medvedev looked ominous throughout this year’s competition, dropping just one set on the way to the final where he was able to get revenge for his Melbourne loss and scupper Djokovic’s hopes of a year for the ages.
After his semifinal win against Auger-Aliassime, Medvedev said he learned a lot from the lost final against Djokovic in Melbourne.
“He was playing different than the matches he did before me, and I was kind of not ready for it, so now I am,” Medvedev said of Djokovic’s tactics.
A moment of growth
For Medvedev, his 2019 US Open experience was a time of ups and downs.
During a match, he was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct and a visible obscenity. As a result, he became a defacto villain in the eyes of the New York crowd. However, because of his personality, charisma and excellent play, he won them back over the following rounds.
Before this year’s US Open, he hoped it would be a “love” relationship between him and the fans. And since the experience in 2019, he has learned to just be himself.
“Of course, I take lessons,” he explained to CNN Sport before the tournament this year. “What you should do and what you shouldn’t do on the tennis court. But as a tennis player, I’m definitely different.
“It was a new experience that made me believe in myself even more and made me better as a tennis player.”
In a promising outcrop of young, up-and-coming stars in men’s tennis, Medvedev might be at the forefront.
Having previously fallen at the last hurdle in grand slam finals, a victory at the ATP Tour Finals in 2020 was a breakthrough moment for the Russian as he became the first player to defeat the world No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 on his way to winning the season-ending tournament.
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CNN’s Homero De La Fuente contributed to this report.