Two years ago, Daniil Medvedev left New York following a heartbreaking defeat to Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller to determine the 2019 U.S. Open champion.
On Sunday, he left his imprint on the tournament forever, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to win the U.S. Open and claim the first major title of his career.
"You never know if you're going to achieve [winning a major] in your career. I was always saying if I don't, I just want to know that I did my best to do it," Medvedev said. "[I feel] a lot of happiness. 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. Means a lot to me."
Throughout the two weeks in Queens, no player on the men’s side was more dominant than Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian lost just one set throughout the tournament, and it culminated with a clinical performance against Djokovic on Sunday.
He broke Djokovic four times in eight chances, and saved five of the six break points he faced. Medvedev served well in winning 80 percent of his first serve points, and hit 38 winners to 31 unforced errors to stay solid throughout the match.
Medvedev converted on his third match point as the Arthur Ashe crowd grew louder, hoping to see s Djokovic comeback as he sought to win the Calendar Grand Slam, a feat not achieved by a man since Rod Laver in 1969.
"First of all I want to say sorry for you fans and Novak. We all know what he was going for today," Medvedev said during the trophy ceremony. "I've never said this anybody, but I will say it right now. For me, you are the greatest tennis player in history."
Djokovic had gotten off to slow starts in his previous matches, dropping the opening set in the four matches before playing Medvedev. In each of those he was able to right the ship, but not against Medvedev on Sunday. As he stumbled out of the gates, Medvedev never allowed him an opening to work his way back into the match.
"I would like to say that tonight, even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I'm the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special," Djokovic told the crowd. "You guys touched my soul. I've never felt like this in New York... I love you guys. Thank you so much for the support and everything you have done tonight for me. I love you and I'll see you soon."
Medvedev, who famously developed a unique relationship with the New York crowd a couple of years ago, will now always hold a place in his heart for New York City and the U.S. Open.