Why Novak’s loss is still seen as a win
Novak Djokovic’s loss in the US Open final was a big blow to his quest in the 2021 ATP Tour. He fell short of his goal to complete a Grand Slam. Daniil Medvedev stood in his way as the Russian star crushed his hopes with a sweep in the final but found a win in the smallest way.
Novak covered his face with a towel and he could not hide his sobs from his chair in Arthur Ashe Stadium. He tried to hide his emotions as he lost in one of the biggest games of his career.
What could have been a Grand Slam for the first time since Rod Laver’s feat was lost in three sets. Novak could not play his best game and trailed all the way with each set and lost 6-4, 6-4, and 6-4.
The Serbian star was just one win from reaching a prime status in tennis. While a lot of fans deemed him to be immortal in the sport, this loss just showed that he is still mortal after all. At the age of 34, Novak won three Grand Slam tournaments and failed to notch a huge feat in tennis history.
Fans were rooting for him that day. It was the same when the NBA learned how to love Russell Westbrook when he broke the triple-double tally that was set by Oscar Robertson a few decades earlier. It was not the same way that Novak had dreamed about the day.
The US Open final was set to be the crowning game for Novak as the greatest of all time. It was a tourney that could have seen him pass his rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most major titles at 21.
Novak tried his best but fate willed him to lose this time. He played every set like it was his last, but like any other player, he had his off-night in the worst time possible.
Novak failed in his goal, but he may have won the hearts of the tennis fans who once did not believe in him when he first started out in his career and when he began his chase for the Grand Slam titles.
‘It was a lot to handle. I was just glad that finally the run is over’, Novak said. ‘At the same time, I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they've created for me on the court’.
At the end of the day, Novak had one word when he wrapped up his run in the ATP Tour with the goal of winning a Grand Slam: Relief. That is more of a win than a loss for any player.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores