Daniil Medvedev had a unique way of celebrating his first Grand Slam success. Medvedev came to the 2021 US Open to heal himself from the heartbreak two years ago when he failed at the final hurdle against Rafael Nadal. On Sunday, Medvedev overcame the ghosts of that loss to beat world No.1 and favourite Novak Djokovic to the men’s singles title. His celebration? It was a nod to the popular video game, FIFA. Medvedev slowly and awkwardly fell to the court after winning the last point of the final.
He said afterward he was imitating the “dead fish celebration" in a FIFA game. The Russian said he first thought of the idea at Wimbledon. When he told other players who also play the game, they told him they thought it was “legendary."
Medvedev says: “That’s how I wanted to make it."
Unfortunately, he added, the celebration hurt, because the surface at the U.S. Open is not as soft as the grass of Wimbledon.
“It’s not easy to make it on hard courts," Medvedev said. “I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself."
Two years ago, Medvedev was two sets up against Nadal but the Spaniard came from that deficit to take the title in five sets. On Sunday, Medvedev won the first two sets again. In the third, he had the championship point on his serve, he double faulted and got broken back for the first time in the match.
However, when he got the opportunity to close out the game again, he kept his calm and sealed the title.
And then came the ‘dead fish’ celebration.
He denied Djokovic the Calendar Slam, something he spoke about ahead of the tournament.
Post the match, Medvedev also revealed that it was his wedding anniversary and said he thought he had to win the match as the present because he hadn’t planned for any gift otherwise.
“It’s a certain anniversary for me and my wife today. During the tournament, I couldn’t think of a present or anything so when I went into the final after the semis win, I thought ‘okay, if I lose, I will have to find a present fast. When I won (the first set), the only thing I thought was ‘wow, if I lose I will have no time to find a present and so, I have to win this match’.
“I love you Daria," Medvedev smiled wide and said.
(With AP inputs)