Again it was nothing with the first Grand Slam title for Alexander Zverev. Novak Djokovic always had the better answer and can now make history.
Disappointed look at Alexander Zverev.
imago images / Paul Zimmer
Alexander Zverev sat with sagging shoulders in the stomach of the Arthur Ashe Stadium after midnight and tried to describe his emotional world. “It is as if the girlfriend you have loved for years breaks up with you,” said the Olympic champion and had to smile a little at his comparison.
It was the only moment after the semi-finals at the US Open against Novak Djokovic that Zverev’s mouth pointed upwards for a moment. Otherwise there was only disappointment and frustration. Once again, the 24-year-old from Hamburg failed in an attempt to win his first Grand Slam title.
I think mentally he is the best player who has ever played the game.
Alexander Zverev on Novak Djokovic
Zverev had run for three and a half hours, punched the ball into half of his opponent with irrepressible power, never gave up and with great morale forced a fifth set. But Djokovic, the insatiable, had the last word. Once again with a major. “I think mentally he is the best player who has ever played the game,” Zverev had to admit appreciatively after the 6: 4, 2: 6, 4: 6, 6: 4, 2: 6 defeat.
Zverev was pushed by a 16-match winning streak and the knowledge from Tokyo to beat Djokovic, went into the duel of the world number four against the number one of the ATP. And the game promised everything the 21,139 spectators in the stadium and millions in front of the TV sets had expected. But in the end only compliments remained for last year’s finalist, which he has not wanted to hear for a long time.
Djokovic can create something historical
For Djokovic, on the other hand, everything will be at stake in Sunday’s final against Russian Daniil Medvedev (10:00 p.m. CEST / Eurosport). For his 21st major, which would put him one step above Roger Federer (Switzerland) and Rafael Nadal (Spain / both 20 titles) in these statistics. In addition, the only Grand Slam since Rod Laver 1969 is at stake – only one victory separates Djokovic from the perfect year in the four major tournaments.
“I will approach this match as if it is my last,” said Djokovic. “It may be the most important of my career.” Zverev has little doubt that the tour dominator will prevail against the very formidable world number two Medvedev, for whom the first major title is at stake.
“I think he will do it. He breaks every single record and is the greatest in history,” said Zverev: “At the end of the day I am also a sports fan. And now we will hopefully experience history on Sunday.”