Novak Djokovic has undoubtedly been the most dominant player of the last decade (and perhaps of all time). The world number 1 failed to complete the job at the US Open, losing sharply in the final to Daniil Medvedev and seeing the dream of the Grand Slam vanish one step away from the finish line.
Physically and mentally exhausted, the Belgrade veteran has never entered the game, falling under the blows of an opponent in a state of grace and returning from a rather easy path. The 34-year-old Serbian had had to stay on the pitch for more than 17 hours, spread over the previous six rounds, against just 11 for the young Russian.
At least for the moment, Nole therefore remains paired with eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slams. The Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd did their best to propel Djokovic towards the feat, showing him for the first time the support that Novak has desired throughout his career.
The tears shed during the last change of pitch will remain one of the most moving images of recent years. Through his Twitter profile, Patrick Mouratoglou expressed his opinion on the progress of the men's final.
Mouratoglou heartens Novak Djokovic
"The burden of history is heavy to bear, this applies to all human beings," wrote Serena Williams' coach.
"Novak Djokovic has carried him on his shoulders throughout the year and congratulations on how he handled the pressure. Last night he felt the love and support of the people for the first time, but it was impossible to complete the work.
I congratulate Daniil Medvedev for playing exceptional tennis. He deserved to win the title," added Mouratoglou. In the press conference after the defeat, Nole promised that he will get up again in a short time. "In tennis, we learn to put difficult times behind us quickly.
New challenges will come soon, so I'll try to learn the lesson to come back even stronger. As long as there are motivations inside me, I will continue to play."