“I learned my lesson”: How Djokovic’s last loss at the US Open helped him win his 24th Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic says losing to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 US Open final caused him to change how he approaches historic matches, helping him win his 24th Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, US Open 2023 Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, US Open 2023 | © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic
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This time two years ago, Novak Djokovic suffered a devastating straight sets loss to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, with his hopes of a calendar slam extinguished by the Russian in brutal fashion.

Today, the Serbian gained his revenge over Medvedev, playing in the US Open final for the first time since then, defeating the world No 3 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win his 24th Grand Slam and tying the record for the most majors won in men’s and women’s tennis.

Speaking after the match, Djokovic revealed that it was his loss to Medvedev in 2021 that taught him the importance of staying in the moment, and not allowing the pressure of records to distract him from his game.

Djokovic learns lesson from 2021 US Open loss

“You know, I really did my best in the last 48 hours not to allow the importance of the moment and what’s on the line get to my head,” said Djokovic when asked how he has managed to win all of his matches in America since returning post-Covid.

“Because two years ago that’s what happened, and I under-performed and I wasn’t able to be at my best and I was outplayed.”

In 2021, Djokovic had won all three Grand Slams leading into the US Open, with the prospect of a historic calendar slam on the cards, should he beat Medvedev in the final. However, a nervous Djokovic played far from his best tennis, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to hand Medvedev his first Grand Slam title.

“I learned my lesson,” continued the 36-year-old, speaking about the 2021 defeat to Medvedev, where he focused too much on what was on the line.

Ignoring records crucial for Djokovic ahead of 24th Grand Slam title

At times, it must be tough being part of Novak Djokovic’s team. The Serbian has revealed that those close to him were under strict instructions not to mention anything to do with the significance of his upcoming final against Daniil Medvedev.

Goran Ivanisevic, US Open 2023
© AI / Reuters / Panoramic

“My team, my family knew that the last 24 hours, don’t touch me, don’t speak to me about, you know, the history of what’s on the line,” shared Djokovic.

Instead, his preparation consisted of managed his thoughts, and focusing on the routines that had brought him this far.

“I really did my best to keep things quite simple and stick to the routines that brought me to where I am and treat this match really as any other match where I just need to win.

“But of course, you know, lots of different thoughts going through your head. What if, what-if scenarios, images that you have in your mind of, you know, what will look like if you win. And also if you lose, you know, so I’m trying to block those ones.

“But yeah, it was a big battle, I think, within, in the last 24 hours to really just, you know, keep things simple and clear and prepare for this match in a right way, which I think I have done.”

It wasn’t until after the last point that Djokovic revealed he allowed himself to think about the magnitude of what he had achieved, describing his operative emotion immediately after winning as just “relief mostly”.

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