Joe Salisbury becomes the first Briton to win two doubles titles at a Grand Slam in the Open era at the US Open.
Joe Salisbury becomes the first Briton to win two doubles titles at a Grand Slam in the Open era at the US Open.
Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury completed a US Open double on Saturday as he lifted the mixed doubles trophy with American Desirae Krawczyk, just a day after winning the men’s doubles title with Rajeev Ram in New York.
The second seeds produced a dominant performance, winning 82 per cent (28/34) of their first-serve points as they overcame Marcelo Arevalo and Giuliana Olmos 7-5, 6-2 to capture their second major title as a team.
”It has been such an incredible couple of weeks,” Salisbury said during the trophy ceremony. “Just being back here and playing the US Open with all of you guys with the fans back, it has been so much fun. To come away with two titles, I could not have even dreamt of that. Finishing by winning the title with Des, we have had so much fun together.”
Krawczyk and Salisbury were teaming for the third time this season, having advanced to the semi-finals at the Australian Open, before lifting the trophy at Roland Garros.
“It has been an amazing couple of tournaments together,” Krawczyk said. “It has just been great. We have a great chemistry. It has been amazing. Thank you to everyone for coming out to watch us and we can’t wait to come back next year.”
With victory, Salisbury is the first player to sweep the US Open men’s and mixed doubles title since Bob Bryan in 2010, while Krawczyk is the first player to win three straight major mixed doubles trophies since Mahesh Bhupathi in 2005, after also winning Wimbledon with Neal Skupski.
In an entertaining match, Krawczyk and Salisbury closed the net well and returned with great depth as they looked to dictate. After breaking in the 11th game of the first set, the American-British team then held serve to move ahead.
Fuelled by momentum, the second seeds raced into a 3-1 lead in the second set and raised their level in the crucial moments throughout, saving all five break points they faced as they secured their victory after 74 minutes.
Arevalo of El Salvador was the first men’s or women’s player from Central America to compete in a major final. The 30-year-old was teaming with Giuliana Olmos for the first time in New York.
“He messaged me, but it was just so much fun playing with him,” Olmos said. “He has so much energy and is so fun on the court. For me, the most important thing is to play and have fun and I think that is what we have done this week.”
“It is a really happy moment for me,” Arevalo added. “It is super special, especially having my two-year-old son with me. Thank you to everyone for making it special.”
Rafael Nadal announced on Instagram Saturday that he is recovering after undergoing treatment on his foot injury, which curtailed the Spaniard’s season in August.
“Hi everyone, I haven’t communicated with you through social media for a while,” Nadal said. “I was in Barcelona with my team and medical team to receive a treatment on my foot that will keep me a few days of rest and a few weeks off court. I’m back home now and in the process of recovery. Thanks to everyone for the support.”
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Following his semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, the 35-year-old did not compete again until he played in Washington at the start of August. After reaching the third round at the Citi Open, the World No. 5 then withdrew from the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto.
Nadal announced he would miss the rest of the 2021 season ahead of the US Open last month and is aiming to return to action next year.
Daniil Medvedev is intent on denying Novak Djokovic’s bid to become just the third man to complete the Grand Slam in Sunday’s US Open final. But his motivation runs much deeper than becoming a footnote in tennis history.
After two runner-up finishes in major finals, the 25-year-old is more than ready to join the club of Grand Slam champions and begin building his own legacy on tennis’ greatest stage.
Twice before he has done his level best to overcome heavy odds in a Grand Slam final: at Flushing Meadows two years ago, when he came close against Rafael Nadal and at this year’s Australian Open, where Djokovic comfortably had his measure. Should he snap the Serbian’s major winning streak one win shy of a flawless 28-0 in 2021, the historic spoiling act would count little to Medvedev when compared to the personal reward: a maiden Grand Slam trophy.
“I think from my side, of course… if I can make this, I’ll probably be in the history books a little bit somewhere like not letting him do this. But I don’t really care about it. I think it’s more about him, that it affects him,” Medvedev said.
“From one side, for sure he’s going to feel the pressure a little bit about it… From the other side, that’s what’s going to make him be even better in tough moments… Here we know that he will do everything to try to make it happen… I’m just going to throw it everything, and I’m definitely not going to be thinking about [his] Grand Slam or whatever.”
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Medvedev stands to become the first Russian man to triumph at this level since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open. He has dropped just one set this campaign – to qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals – cruising past 24th seed Daniel Evans and 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime either side of that clash.
It has been a far more straightforward run to his second US Open final than two years ago, when only two of his six matches en route to the final came in straight sets. “Two years ago was a completely different tournament. First of all, the story with the fans. This year kind of didn’t have anything. It was just smooth,” he said.
Most Grand Slam Men’s Singles Finals
“[In] 2019, actually before the story with the fans, I was cramping, couldn’t almost walk in my second-round match. I managed to win it [d. Dellien], almost couldn’t walk. There were some crazy matches, some crazy turnarounds.
“I remember playing against [Stan] Wawrinka, I tore my quadriceps… I managed to win the match. I had two days off, so I managed to heal it… This year I didn’t have the stories, and that’s a good thing. I have the experience of two finals of Slams that can help me… The only thing I can say is all that I have left, I’m going to throw it out on Sunday.”
The top two players in the world with history on the line.
It doesn’t get any better than this. pic.twitter.com/r6ZlGLaWXo
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021
Djokovic leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head 5-3, including their only meeting this season for the first of his three majors this season. Before Medvedev’s straight-sets victory en route to the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals they had taken a set off each other in their previous four clashes, dating back to Djokovic’s fourth-round Australian Open win in 2019.
“It’s going to be a battle against another guy who has been in tremendous form, Medvedev. He’s won a lot of matches on hard court so far. We played earlier this year in the Australian Open final,” Djokovic said.
“He’s already had a couple of Grand Slam finals behind him. I think experience-wise it’s different for him now. I’m sure he’s going to give it all to win it, to win his first Slam.
“On the other side, I’ll be giving it all I possibly got in the tank to win this match. I’m focusing on recovery, recalibrating all the systems basically for Sunday. I’m not going to waste time or energy on anything that can just be a distraction and deplete me from the vital energy that I need.”
Rod Laver – the last man to have completed the Grand Slam, in 1969 – watched on from the stands in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night as Djokovic denied fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals. It was an unprecedented 10th time in a major this year he had prevailed having dropped the opening set.
It was the fourth straight time he had done it this US Open after he stopped Kei Nishikori, Jenson Brooksby and Matteo Berrettini in succession. On top of the chance to match Laver’s feat, there was something more at stake for the World No. 1 – the chance to pull clear of his Big Three rivals with a 21st major trophy.
“I’m going to put my heart, my soul, my body and my head into that one,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview on Friday night. “I’m going to treat that match like it’s the last match of my career.”
Djokovic made it clear his never-say-die reputation was built up over many years, having successfully found a way through crunch moments in the biggest matches time and again. It was a timely reminder for Medvedev ahead of the showdown on Sunday.
“Probably all these big matches that I won, big titles over the years, have kind of built that kind of aura around me that players know there’s a never-die spirit with me, especially when I play Grand Slams,” Djokovic said. “They know that until the last shot things can turn around, which was the case in several occasions throughout my career.
“So I’m glad that my opponents think of me that way. I want them to feel that they are under extreme pressure when I’m facing them on a big stage in Grand Slams.”
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Novak Djokovic made clear he is prepared to put everything on the line to lift this year’s US Open trophy after advancing to the final on Friday evening with a thrilling five-set victory against Alexander Zverev. The Serbian is one win against second seed Daniil Medvedev away from becoming the first man to complete the Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
“I’m going to treat this match as it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important one of my career maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But of this year, for sure,” Djokovic said. “It’s going to be a battle against another guy who has been in tremendous form, Medvedev.”
Djokovic recalled a press conference during the 2009 NBA Finals when a reporter asked legend Kobe Bryant why he was not visibly happy after the Los Angeles Lakers took a 2-0 lead against the Orlando Magic.
“What’s there to be happy about?” Bryant asked the reporter. “Job’s not finished.”
“He’s been someone, as probably millions of athletes and people around the world, have been looking up to him, admiring him. That’s kind of an attitude I have. Job is not done,” Djokovic said. “Excitement is there. Motivation is there, without a doubt. Probably more than ever. But I have one more to go.”
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA
The World No. 1 is aware of the hoopla surrounding his historic chase. But instead of allowing the pressure to swallow him, the Serbian is just worrying about his preparations.
“I’m just trying to lock into what I know works for me,” Djokovic said. “I have my routines, I have my people. I isolate myself. I gather all the necessary energy for the next battle, only the next match, the next match.”
In the 2015 US Open semi-finals, Serena Williams was two wins from completing her own Grand Slam. The American icon fell short in the last four against Italian Roberta Vinci.
“I can relate to what she’s been going through right now,” Djokovic said. “I understand it now. Obviously, once you’re in that situation, you can really comprehend what a player goes through.
“I understand why she wanted to avoid all the questions about it because in the end of the day, you have to go out on the court and deliver. You’re expected to always win. For a great legend that she is, she always has that expectations from everyone, including herself.
“It’s no different with me. We all have different formulas that work for us in terms of how we want to feel on the court, how we prepare ourselves, how we recuperate.”
Djokovic was in danger of suffering the same fate. However, he was able to claw by Zverev, who entered their clash on a 16-match winning streak. The German ended the World No. 1’s hopes of winning a Golden Slam in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics six weeks ago.
“It was a great win. I’m proud of the fight that I delivered. I probably could have played better in some moments. Again, I have to be satisfied with delivering the best tennis I possibly could in the most important set, which was the fifth set,” Djokovic said. “Just looking forward to another battle on Sunday.”
The top seed is plenty familiar with the only man standing between him and history: Medvedev. Djokovic leads their ATP Head2Head series 5-3, including a victory in this year’s Australian Open final.
“I’m sure he’s going to give it all to win it, to win his first Slam. On the other side, I’ll be giving it all I possibly got in the tank to win this match,” Djokovic said. “I’m focussing on recovery, recalibrating all the systems for Sunday. I’m not going to waste time or energy on anything that can just be a distraction and deplete me from the vital energy that I need for Sunday.”
Djokovic has spoken about visions he has of holding major trophies, so a reporter asked what image he has in mind for Sunday.
“Exactly that one,” Djokovic said. “Holding the trophy.”
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Alexander Zverev covered his face with his hands and threw his head back momentarily as he began the walk back down the corridor from Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night. It was the realisation he had gone the distance with Novak Djokovic and ultimately came up short in his bid to halt the World No. 1’s pursuit of history after three hours and 38 minutes.
A year ago, he came within two points of capturing his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows only for Dominic Thiem to prevail in five sets. On Friday night, while he did not come quite so close, the mountain again proved too big to climb as Djokovic pulled clear 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
“It was a great battle. Kind of a little bit disappointed with the start of the fifth set. To be honest, apart from that, it was a good match. I think we both left it all out there,” Zverev said. “The second break in the fifth set was so ridiculously unlucky that it sometimes happen. But he’s No. 1 in the world for a reason and he showed that tonight.”
Having foiled the Serbian’s bid for the Golden Slam in 2021 with his victory from a set and a break down in the Tokyo Olympics semi-final, the German was confident he could repeat the feat at Flushing Meadows. Following his run to the gold medal and victory in Cincinnati, Zverev was on a 16-match winning streak to the semi-finals.
He had dropped only one set en route this campaign – in the third round against Jack Sock – and came within a set of becoming the first man since Djokovic in 2015-16 to reach consecutive US Open finals. Zverev admitted the edge his opponent held on Friday night came down to his mental toughness on the biggest points.
“He comes up with the best tennis when he needs to. We play 55-shot rallies. The only way for me to win that rally is to hit a forehand winner. That says it all, on a set point [down],” Zverev said.
“There is a reason why he’s won 20 Grand Slams. There’s a reason why he’s spent the most weeks at World No. 1. There’s a lot of reasons for that.
“I think mentally he’s the best player to ever play the game. Mentally in the most important moments I would rather play against anybody else but him.”
The 24-year-old expected his conqueror to complete the Grand Slam in Sunday’s final against second seed Daniil Medvedev. “Nobody thought anybody will do it again, what Rod Laver did. To see him have the chance on Sunday – I do believe that he will do it – is great. He’s breaking every single record that there is,” Zverev said.
“If you look at the stats, if you look at the pure game of tennis action, he’s the greatest of all time. Nobody is there with him, because most weeks World No. 1, most ATP Masters 1000 titles, most likely going to be the most Grand Slams at the end of the day. And he has the chance of winning all four in the same year. How do you compete with that?”
Novak Djokovic keeps alive his hopes of a calendar Grand Slam by reaching the US Open final, where he will face Daniil Medvedev.