Novak Djokovic’s dream of achieving the calendar grand slam came crashing down at the US Open last night.
The 20-time slam winner was dispatched in straight sets by the much better Daniil Medvedev; 6-4 6-4 6-4.
It was a tough time for Djokovic as he chased an achievement that no men’s player has done since Rod Laver in 1969 and that was winning all four major tournaments in the same year.
He got so close, but fell at the final hurdle.
The frustrations for the 34-year-old was evident right from the off, as he seemed to be struggling from the effects of a long tournament, and a long year.
At one point he smashed his racket to pieces in frustration, moments after giving a ball girl the fright of her life when he thought about hitting a ball in anger.
Medvedev was just too good, even for the man who is one of the best returners of all time.
Djokovic received brilliant support from the New York crowd, something he is not used to often receiving.
As he sat down in his chair at 5-4 in the third set, the crowd roared him on in one final effort to bring him back to life.
He sat with a towel over his face and sobbed, the emotion of everything proving too much.
Addressing the crowd through tears, Djokovic said: “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.”
Djokovic remains tied with career rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20. For Medvedev, it was his first grand slam title and was richly deserved.
Former British tennis player Barry Cowan told talkSPORT Breakfast: “It was a little flat. I was a little surprised. I had Djokovic to win the tournament.
“I’m a big believer, and always have been, of when you are trying to win your first major and you are up against greats, it’s even harder.
“We saw that with Murray when he had disappointment at first in the grand slams.
“It was a double difficult moment for Djokovic as he had the Olympics, he expected to win the Olympics.
“I wanted him to do it because I like to be a part of history and that would have been history to win all four in the same year.
“It would have been he would have overtaken Federer and Nadal on 20 majors.
“I think this will be very hard for Djokovic to pick himself up. He will find it very hard now to play the kind of tennis he wants from now until the end of the year.”
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