Boris Becker recently opined that Novak Djokovic felt the weight of expectations during his US Open final defeat against Daniil Medvedev. The German believes Djokovic fell prey to his emotions, which in turn made him seem "clueless" on the court.
Novak Djokovic went into Sunday's final hoping to become the first man in more than 50 years to complete the Calendar Slam. Winning the US Open would have also given the Serb sole ownership of the Grand Slam record, ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Given the stakes involved, it was not surprising that Djokovic was under enormous pressure throughout the tournament. That pressure seemingly increased manifold during the final, given how nervous he looked at the start of the match.
The World No. 1 played some really poor tennis by his lofty standards, which suggested he wasn't sure how to hold off the red-hot Daniil Medvedev. And Boris Becker, while speaking on Eurosport, claimed that his former ward couldn't deal with all the emotions festering within himself.
"For Novak Djokovic, it was one match too many today," Becker. "He was mentally not able to control his emotions."
The six-time Slam champion further highlighted Novak Djokovic's zealous nature, explaining how the Serb was desperate to write his name into the history books. Becker suggested that this aspect increased the pressure on the 20-time Major champion before eventually rendering him helpless.
"He (Novak Djokovic) wanted to make history," Becker said. "He wanted to become the most successful Grand Slam player of all time. He didn't want to become one of the best - he wanted to become the best, and he would have underlined that with a victory here today. I have never seen Novak so clueless."
Boris Becker also pointed out that Daniil Medvedev was nothing short of the deserving champion, given how well he played throughout the tournament.
"Daniil Medvedev deserved to win today; deserved to win the tournament," Becker said. "He was the best player over these two weeks and only lost one set in total on the way to his first Grand Slam."
Becker believes Medvedev is destined to win more Slams down the road, citing how the Russian is the "most ready" amongst the younger generation. According to the 53-year-old, Medvedev is a cut above Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev because he doesn't let nerves get the better of him.
"I am convinced that Daniil will win more Grand Slam tournaments," Becker said. "For me, he is the most ready of the young generation. He knows how to win matches; he knows how to prepare for the big matches. You have to beat him then because he doesn't get hectic or nervous. He's one step ahead of [Stefanos] Tsitsipas or [Alexander] Zverev there."
Novak Djokovic is human, I think it’s the first time I’ve seen him cry on a tennis court: Mischa Zverev
Novak Djokovic looked uncomfortable and unhappy for most parts of the match. The only time he smiled was late into the third set, when he broke Daniil Medvedev's serve for the first time.
But after Djokovic went on to hold his own serve to make it 4-5, he couldn't control his tears. The Serb was visibly overwhelmed by the incredible ovation he received from the crowd - a first for him at Flushing Meadows.
Mischa Zverev, part of the conversation with Boris Becker, claimed that Djokovic's tears showed how he has a human side to him.
"In the end, he [Djokovic] is human because I think it’s the first time I’ve seen him cry on a tennis court," Zverev said. "It doesn’t matter if you’ve won or lost, he is usually a man of steel."
Zverev went on to point out that Novak Djokovic usually seems like a "machine" on the court due to his rock-solid mental strength and inch-perfect game. The German claimed that on Sunday Djokovic was more "human," which helped him win over the crowd.
"He is so focused, like a machine, but we saw today he is human," he added. "He didn’t win today, but I think he won the hearts of the New Yorkers, that’s for sure."