'We saw him break', now golden age is finished

1 week ago
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Daniil Medvedev's US Open win implicit Novak Djokovic marks a seismic displacement successful the men's game, according to Australian tennis fable Todd Woodbridge.

Djokovic had been seeking to marque past successful New York, not lone arsenic the archetypal antheral since Rod Laver successful 1969 to triumph the calendar twelvemonth Grand Slam, but besides a 21st large title, taking him 1 wide of long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But it proved a span excessively far, with Medvedev dismantling Djokovic successful conscionable implicit 2 hours to assertion his archetypal Grand Slam title, with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

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Woodbridge acknowledged the pugnacious draw, which saw Djokovic look Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev and Medvedev successful his past 3 matches, but said the large question present surrounds however Djokovic recovers from this year.

Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic stock a laughter during the trophy presumption (Getty)

He pointed to the illustration of Mats Wilander, who won 3 large titles successful 1988, culminating successful an epic five-set triumph implicit Ivan Lendl successful the US Open final. But the upland proved excessively pugnacious to ascent a 2nd time, and helium ne'er made different expansive slam final.

"I'm not suggesting Novak volition autumn disconnected a cliff, due to the fact that he'll inactive person the extremity of winning a 21st slam, but I deliberation Novak would emotion it if Rafa came backmost to situation him, due to the fact that that's the benignant of information an jock needs," Woodbridge told Wide World of Sports.

"If Rafa and Roger aren't there, that's a overmuch tougher duty for Novak.

"With sport, things determination connected truly quickly, caller stories, caller play is ever created. This tourney was a existent pivot successful the tennis world.

Novak Djokovic sobs during the US Open last (ESPN)

"Things are present going successful a wholly antithetic direction."

From the clip Federer won his archetypal Wimbledon, successful 2003, done until Djokovic's triumph astatine the All England Club this year, the 3 legends combined to triumph an unthinkable 60 retired of 72 large titles.

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Of the mortals, lone Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka were capable to triumph aggregate Slams successful that period.

"I consciousness that the epoch of the 'Big Three' is over," Woodbridge declared.

"Novak whitethorn inactive triumph 1 oregon 2 much majors, but I deliberation there's a feeling that this younger procreation present spot themselves arsenic Grand Slam winners.

Russian Daniil Medvedev shows his emotions during the US Open last against Novak Djokovic. (Getty)

"Medvedev, done acquisition and 2 Grand Slam last losses, yet got it right. He understood the moment, the enormity of what Novak was trying to achieve, and besides what unit that brought.

"He knew what helium needed to bash to let the pressure, and the stress, and the infinitesimal to get excessively ample for Novak to handle."

As the realisation dawned connected Djokovic precocious successful the 3rd acceptable that the Grand Slam imagination was done, we had the singular scenes of the satellite No.1 sobbing into his towel, portion helium again teared up during the post-match presentation.

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It's a show that Woodbridge believes volition person energised the younger players.

"I felt that we saw the existent quality broadside of it erstwhile Novak openly wept earlier the lucifer was over. We saw wrong of Novak, successful a mode we haven't previously," helium explained.

"We cognize the intensity, and the discipline, and the ultra-strong façade of Novak, but we saw him break. Whenever you spot that successful an athlete, you don't cognize however they're going to recover.

Alexander Zverev bushed Novak Djokovic astatine the Tokyo Olympics. (dpa/picture confederation via Getty I)

"For truthful agelong he's maintained that aura of invincibility, but erstwhile it starts to dilatory shed, tin helium support the strength and the thrust to bash what he's achieved successful the past?"

Djokovic will, COVID-19 permitting, instrumentality to Melbourne Park successful January for the Australian Open, a tourney helium has won a grounds 9 times, including the past 3 straight.

Rod Laver Arena is wherever helium feels astir comfortable, wherever his challengers look their toughest test.

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But Father Time wins each battle, and Woodbridge says the question volition person to beryllium asked: How overmuch does Djokovic person near successful the tank?

"He has to person a bully Australian Open," helium said.

"If things are going to proceed arsenic per normal, helium indispensable person a bully tourney successful Melbourne, different doubts volition commencement to creep in.

"Don't underestimate the grade to which an jock volition commencement to question himself, adjacent earlier the nationalist does.

"When you acceptable goals, they're truthful precocious that you request a bid of smaller steps on the way, and for Novak that was Grand Slam rubric fig 15, 16 oregon 17. Now helium needs to triumph 21, the astir ever, and it's the biggest hurdle of them all."

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