Daniil Medvedev showered rich praise on Novak Djokovic after beating the Serb in the final of the 2021 US Open. Medvedev called Djokovic the "greatest player in tennis history", and also apologized for denying him a shot at completing the Calendar Slam.
Daniil Medvedev stopped Novak Djokovic's 27-match winning streak at the Slams with a phenomenally consistent performance. The Russian was broken just once in his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win, as he neutralized Djokovic's game from start to finish.
A warm presentation ceremony followed the match, where both players spoke highly of each other. While Djokovic assured Medvedev he'd be at the podium many more times in his career, the Russian acknowledged what his opponent had achieved already in the season.
"I just want to say this for what you've achieved this year and throughout your career," Medvedev said. "I’ve never said this to anybody but I'll say it right now. For me you are the greatest player in tennis history."
With Novak Djokovic chasing history and trying to reach 21 Slams before his biggest rivals, the crowd at Arthur Ashe was firmly behind the Serb. The fans also seemingly played a part in the only time Daniil Medvedev's serve was broken (at 5-2 in the third set), making plenty of noise during the points.
While he did not get their support as loudly as Djokovic did, Medvedev was gracious towards the crowd in his victory speech.
"I want to say sorry to you fans and Novak, because we all know what he was going for today," Medvedev said. "You fans gave me a lot of energy, starting from 2019 until now. It helped me even today."
Daniil Medvedev's unique ode to his wife and FIFA
In another special moment during his speech on the podium, Daniil Medvedev spoke about his third wedding anniversary - which fell on the same day as the final. The 25-year-old revealed he had been struggling to find a gift for his wife during the tournament, hilariously suggesting that that was one of the reasons behind his win on Sunday.
"I want to finish the speech on a sweet note," Medvedev said. "It's the third anniversary for me and my wife today. During the tournament I couldn't think of a present. After the semis, I thought I had to find a present fast. The only thing I thought was that I did not have a present if I lost the final, so I had to win the match!"
At the end of his speech, Medvedev also gave an explanation for his peculiar celebration, where he lay still on his side with his tongue hanging out. The Russian confirmed that he was imitating the brick wall fall celebration from FIFA.
"Only legends understand what I did after the match: L2 + Left," he concluded.