The best tennis player in the world, Serbian Novak Djokovic, acknowledged after losing the most important match of his brilliant professional career, completing the Grand Slam cycle and the twenty-first of the majors, that he felt "disappointed" and "empty" .
He acknowledged it after crying after the 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss he suffered against Russian Daniil Medvedev, world number one, who won his first US Open and Grand Slam title.
Djokovic's reaction was no wonder after seeing a streak of 27 wins and 0 broken in Grand Slam matches and staying on the verge of joining the legendary Australian Rod Laver, the last tennis player who managed to win all the tournaments of this circuit in 1969.
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The 34-year-old Djokovic admitted he was not prepared not to achieve the 28th Grand Slam win of the season, but he was ready not to take any long-term step backs.
There is a new group of talents moving towards the top of the sport, including Medvedev, his executioner at Flushing Meadows, but he will keep going.
Yes, Djokovic had spoken in advance of giving everything he had against Medvedev on Sunday, of treating him "as if it were the last game of my career". And, yes, Djokovic came out flat and was outmatched. Not the best combination for Djokovic: he had a bad day; Medvedev a great performance. So yeah, Djokovic found it all disappointing.
But immediately, after assimilating that holding the pressure for a whole season to be perfect in the Grand Slam had been "too much to handle" and was aware of what the defeat had deprived him, Djokovic, warned that he will play again, and will resume his work to overcome his rivals of always, the Swiss Roger Federer and the Spanish Rafael Nadal.
The objective will be to achieve that Grand Slam title, the twenty-first, that breaks the tie that the three great legends of men's world tennis have so far.
Therefore, it should not surprise anyone that Djokovic when leaving Flushing Meadows already had the idea in his head that this goal could be perfectly achieved in a few months when the first Grand Slam tournament of the season arrives with the Australian Open, the which has already won nine times, including the last three editions.
Djokovic is very clear when he recalls that the rivals whom he won in the three Grand Slam tournaments last season in which he was proclaimed champion were young values such as Medvedev himself, 25 years old, in Australia, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (3 ), 23, at Roland Garros and Italian Matteo Berrettini (7) at Wimbledon.
"I assume the transition naturally because it is something inevitable," argued Djokovic. "But that does not mean that I am going to separate myself from all that I can still contribute with the other veterans of the circuit."
In fact, the circuit is already eager to see how Federer, 40, and Nadal, 35, will return after missing the US Open due to injuries that forced them to conclude the regular season early.
It will be fascinating to see how Federer, Nadal and Djokovic will face the new generation of figures led by Medvedev, Austrian Dominic Thiem, German Alexander Zverev - Nole's executioner at Tokyo 2020 - Tsitsipas and the new generation of American tennis led by Sebastián. Korda, 21, and Jenson Brooksby, 20.
Medvedev spoke on Sunday night about the boost he hopes to receive after winning a Grand Slam after losing in previous finals, to Djokovic himself, and Nadal.
“For my future, knowing that I beat someone who was 27-0 in a year in Grand Slams… I was going to make a great story, and that I managed to stop him, it is definitely something very special, which gives me a lot of confidence in what It is yet to come, ”Medvedev acknowledged after being proclaimed champion at Flushing Meadows.
At the moment, what he also learned from Djokovic is that the world number one will continue with the mentality and confidence of always being a champion in each Grand Slam tournament, and has already advanced, amid the sadness of an unexpected defeat, that That was not going to change at all, on the contrary, from 2022 he will arrive with more “hunger” for triumphs.
"If there is something that motivates me more in these moments of frustration, it is to feel committed as I have never been before to continue in the competition, to try to win more Grand Slams, to be more competitive and to play for my country," said Djokovic before leaving Flushing Meadows .