One of the best things about following sport is change. Things never really remain the same in elite level sport. Sport is always in a state of flux. The Ladies US Open final was probably one of the most exciting finals in years. No Williams sisters , no Osaka, Barty or Halep, no Pliskova, Sabalenka or even Svitolina. We had two teenagers in the final. We would almost class them as the next ‘next gen’ given their age and relative inexperience. I wonder just how many people knew either of the ladies before the start of the tournament. Perhaps Raducanu may have been known following her Wimbledon exploits earlier in the summer but Fernandez has seemingly gone under the radar.
Both ladies played with a freedom. They have played clutch when they needed to and swung freely throughout the event. Despite being underdogs time and time again they have come up trumps and managed to get through 6 whole games to make the US Open ladies final. What a feat to have a teenager in the final of one of the biggest tournaments in the world. To have two players in the final, both teenagers, unheralded and very much raw talents was just so exciting for the game. We have seen jaw dropping tennis from both girls, resilience, and oodles of passion.
Before the tournament the talk was very much on Novak Djokovic 21 grand slam titles. There has been a huge amount of column inches on Djokovic pursuit of Nadal and Federer and then becoming the player to hold the most grand slam titles. As we now know Daniil Medvedev was able to stop Djokovic claiming a place in history this time. He played great when he had to and rightfully one the game and his first grand slam title.
Djokovic shown love by the New York Crowd
One of the most touching moments of the Sunday mens final was the reaction Novak Djokovic received from the crowd the whole evening. Djokovic seems to struggle to click with people and as such is the poorest member of the big 3 in terms of love he is shown. On Sunday it was different, the crowd seem to will Djokovic on to victory. Perhaps keen to see the Serb make tennis history and win his 21st slam, accepting that a calendar golden slam doesn’t come around too often. Rod Laver was the last person to achieve it in 1969. Djokovic fell at the final hurdle. How unfortunate for Djokovic.
This really was a landmark moment for Djokovic, he may have lost the game but he did gain a whole lot of new fans by his humility and respect from the crowd returned. In losing possibly the biggest and most important accolade of his career he gained perhaps something he has never experienced before and that was appreciation and love from the crowd.
A truly fantastic fortnight of tennis when the narrative flipped and changed so many times. We remember the Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray toilet saga. The talk of Djokovic 21st slam, the absence of so many of the top players and ofcourse the emergence of the next gen Emma and Leylah. Here’s hoping 2021s remaining events can continue to thrill and inspire more players to make their move.