Novak Djokovic was hoping to put the icing on the cake for a fantastic season. The world number 1 reached the final of the US Open after regulating Alexander Zverev, but he could do nothing against an excellent version of Daniil Medvedev.
The Russian put in an excellent performance, but was also helped by a subdued Nole from start to finish. Too much mental and physical fatigue accumulated by the Serbian in recent months, as he himself admitted in front of journalists.
Should he win in New York, the 34-year-old from Belgrade would become the second man after Rod Laver to complete the Grand Slam in the Open Era. Nole would also overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the first time in the all-time Majors rankings, ending the debate on the greatest ever.
It is not clear now what Djokovic's schedule will be, as he may decide not to return to the pitch this season. According to rumors, the 20-time Grand Slam champion intends to return directly to the Australian Open 2022.
Speaking on Eurosport, Boris Becker analyzed the collapse of Novak one step away from the finish line.
Becker opens up on Novak Djokovic
"For Novak Djokovic, it was one match too many today," Boris Becker. "He was mentally not able to control his emotions."
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." 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."