It had been quite a happening US Open with lots of twists and surprises. Both the top seeds, who were the strong favourites for the title in pre-US Open predictions, failed in their bid. Instead, we witnessed two new champions and a host of other feel-good stories as well as shocks.
What did the final Slam of the year tell us? What can we expect from here on?
Here are five things that we learned:
1. Novak Djokovic too falls victim to jittery nerves
Novak Djokovic too has nerves! It is baffling for any tennis aficionado to learn this after being dazzled by the Serb for many months now. The World No.1 began the year looking absolutely invincible and even won the long-coveted French Open title, thereby becoming the first man to hold all four Slams simultaneously since Rod Laver in 1969.
A staggering feat no doubt, it was impossible then to envisage any other man holding the next two Major trophies after Paris. But that is exactly what happened.
At the 2016 US Open, the 12-time Grand Slam champion breezed through to the final with three of his opponents either retiring or giving a walkover. The well-rested top seed even began the final against the third-seeded Stan Wawrinka in an impressive fashion by breaking the Swiss early and ultimately clinching the opening set in a tie-break.
But surprisingly, Djokovic faded away at the most crucial junctures from thereon, conceding the next three sets. It was partly because of Wawrinka’s undeniable brilliance and partly because the defending champion looked ill at ease under pressure, something we are unaccustomed to seeing.
“I lost my nerves in the important moments. He kept his cool. I think that’s what decided the match,” came the admission from the World No.1 after the final – a revelation that is startling to say the least.