9 Things I Think I Thought About Djokovic, Medvedev, Raducanu And The US Open
by Sean Randall | September 14th, 2021, 1:16 pm

It’s been a few days since the craziest and zaniest Grand Slam came to a close on Sunday, so with it still fresh, here are some quick thoughts.

Novak Djokovic knew it and then lived it.

After his dismissal from Tokyo and his early troubles in New York, all the warning signs were there for Djokovic coming up short in New York. 33 years ago, without the media crush life must have been easier for Steffi Graf. But in this day and age where every moment is scrutinized, ever second recorded, replayed and shared a thousand times on social media and other platforms, it must be impossible to detach from the Calendar Grand Slam chase.

“Relief,” is what Djokovic said after the loss.

It certainly weighed him down, down to the point where I felt like on Sunday he was finally crushed under the pressure of it all.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have never experienced it. Serena Williams six yesterday had the same happen.

Nothing was working for Djokovic. Nothing. And then in the third on the 5-4 changeover you saw the release. The relief.

It’s hard.

For Daniil Medvedev, now that he’s over the hump and still just 25, I expect multiple more Grand Slam titles to follow.

He’s not going to reach Big 3 heights — he just does not excel on clay and grass — but he’ll be a factor on hard courts for many years.

And even though Djokovic was far from his best, Medvedev took care of business, he won (not Djokovic lost) and he’s not done winning. This is just the start.

The player no one saw coming this quickly was Emma Raducanu. She, not Djokovic, ended up making history becoming the first qualifier — woman or man — to reach a Grand Slam final and then go one step further and win it.

It’s an achievement we will likely never see in our lifetime again. And she did it without losing a set.

Just think about that.

Her poise and determination were incredible for someone only 18. Contrast that with her panic attack at Wimbledon, and that’s quite the turnaround.

Regardless of where she goes from here, with her age, looks and the country she calls home, she’s an instant mega-star.

Let’s see how she deals with the pressure next summer.

All I can say is expect more of the unexpected.

Raducanu’s win should light a fire under Coco Gauff who could get one of her own big trophies next year. Leylah Fernandez seems too slight to win one on her own, she’ll need help, but her and Raducanu will still be factors, though it’s hard to see either coming up with another deep run in the next few years.

I do think we’ll see more new faces because the current crop, as we watched in New York, just aren’t mentally good enough in the pressure moments.

Ash Barty will win a few more, Naomi Osaka might also if she decides to drop the celebrity gig, but the Svitolinas, Sabalenkas, Pliskovas and Sakkaris seem destined to come up empty.

I think Bianca Andreescu — if she can stay fit — Iga Swiatek, Elena Rybakina and perhaps Barbora Krejcikova could do some damage in the coming years.

And there will be some new women we’ve never heard of emerge. Another Raducanu or two are out there.

With no dominant player, the tour is ripe for the taking and will stay that way for another 18-24 months.

After laying it all out there for nine months, I can’t imagine Djokovic is too keen on picking up a racquet anytime soon. Heck, he might not even play the rest of the year, and I wouldn’t blame him. He’s got to be fried.

But I think he comes in refreshed for Australia and I see a couple more Slams in his future before the young guys completely takeover.

He gave it his all in the chase for the Golden Slam and the Calendar Slam, now he’ll focus on 21.

Rafael Nadal will be back. And he might win another — and final — French Open next year. But I have a feeling next year could be it.

We are hoping Roger Federer can return. I could see a farewell at Wimbledon next year, sooner if the knee isn’t cooperating.

Serena Williams, who turns 40 later this month, might try to play the US Open next year, or just fade off into being a full celebrity mega-mom.

Regardless, all three have made their mark and have nothing left to prove.

And for us fans, it’s a loss, but that said, did we really miss them last week?

The WTA have 2 new bonified stars (Emma Raducanu and Lelyah Fernandez), but are there some new guys on the ATP who might figure for Slams in the future?

Holger Rune has been spoken about for a while. Jannik Sinner is a known quantity. But this summer we saw Americans Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima have big summers.

Brooksby is especially intriguing. With his awkward and annoying game, he’ll be fun to watch.

I also think Reilly Opelka will take the servebot baton from John Isner. He’ll be a nightmare for a long time.

Sebastian Korda will be in the Top 10 like Casper Ruud is this week. But Carlos Alcaraz showcased his game with his incredible win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

And these “kids” will mesh with the already established under-26 stars. It’s a good group who will have their day sooner rather than later wit the Big 3 on their last legs.

The biggest problem tennis faces right now is the surge in toilet breaks the last few years. And it’s getting worse.

Five years ago, it was rare for a player to leave the court. Now it’s a surprise when he/she doesn’t.

Making it worse, some are even bending the “rules” spending 10+ minutes off the court, be it back in the locker room or in the air conditioning or who knows, texting with the coaching team.

Now, the younger generation are watching this and think they can do it too, and they will. It’s a bad habit.

So hopefully during the upcoming off season, the tours and the Slams come together and nip this in the bud, or butt.

It can’t be disputed, without the crowd I don’t think we see the same results we saw these past two weeks.

I don’t think either teen makes even the women’s semifinals. Alcaraz doesn’t beat Tsitsipas and maybe without the crowd, Djokovic has an easier road to the final — the crowd doesn’t lift his opponents like Rune and Brooksby.

The impact from the crowd was never more apparent. Let the roars continue…

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13 Comments for 9 Things I Think I Thought About Djokovic, Medvedev, Raducanu And The US Open

John Says:

what’s a mega-mom? genuinely curious.

Django Says:

The last time Novak lost RG he went on a Nole Slam tear. After his DQ he went on a three slam tear.
Sorry, I don’t believe he is finished.

Van Persie Says:

I woukd add a nomber 10 on that list.

The big winner at this USOpen was Rod Laver, not Emma Raducanu, not Medvedev… I am sure he was relieved to see, this record of his was not achieved. You could have seen it in his smile. He has to thank Nole, because Nole brought him back into attention. For decades he was not mentioned that often as this year, because no one was close. Ok, he was mentioned also a lot back in 2012, when Nole had 4 GS in a row on 3 surfaces, but it is the NCYGS. Had Nole also won this US Open, Nole would have dictatourship on the tennis records😂…

Van Persie Says:

sorry for the typos, new phone 😁

Van Persie Says:

So yes, Mr. Laver is happy, but he is for sure envious that he was not a part of the Golden Era 😉, same as Nole regrets that he did not win the YCGS.

chrisford1 Says:

I would like to see Novak stay on the Tour and play when he is able, rather than take the Federer approach of “saving himself” only to play majors and get that 21st with that strategy. It hasn’t worked for Roger, or Serena, or Rafa when they have “saved themselves” for the Major.
Right now in the race to Turin, there are only 2 guys above age 25 now in the Top 15, now that Rafa is injured and out. Late bloomer Aslan at 28, Novak at 34.
The changing of the guard is not coming, it is well underway. Covid and Novak’s 4 titles and Rafa’s one masked that a little.
And there are other things besides 21!! 21!! that are on Djoko’s ‘possibles’ list that are within his reach and shouldn’t all be tossed away for “The Quest For 21!”

*Year End #1s.
*Number of ATP titles.
*Who finishes the All-Time Masters 1000 Champ – Rafa or Novak?
*Who ends ranked highest in the eyes of the fellow pros that fought them the Big 3.
*Novak is close to his 3rd Big Title Sweep. ATP Champion- 4 Slams – 9 Masters, no one is as close to such a sweep happening to them. He just needs the French Open, Monte Carlo, and Cincinnati.

There is more to Legends and greats than Slamcount.

skeezer Says:

#3 by far was the highlight of USO. #8 got the most news, as well as it should. Solution? Put a Porta potty on courtside.i

Chico Says:

Djokovic in the trunk? Hehe. I get the humour but still, he faced all the stuff as a champion. He came up short but was the contender.

As for Laver, probably thought that “Darn, I would have gotten rid of all this CYGS hype allready”. He probably still has the free pass to every single GS for the rest of his life. And he knows that both skillwise and mentally the tennis today days is on another level. If you want to compare different ages.

Maybe it is the inner Fed fan in me, but here’s to hoping for some insane probabilistic poetic justice that Novak, Roger, and Rafa end up with 20 each. And cheers!, and hats off to sir Andy.

chrisford1 Says:

Chico – I think putting Novak in the trunk is correct. He is a peerless Champion, who for whatever reason, just fell short, could not get across the finish line in two major 1-time only or last shot career events, after Wimbledon.
And gave Sascha and Medvedev great encouragement that they are now his equals. Medvedev is licking his lips thinking of facing Djokovic on the hardcourts now.
Hardly a failure for Djokovic, but no culmination of a career in a blaze of glory in NYC, for him..

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Pretty good analysis, but… Fernandez is too slight? Fernandez needs help?
She beat three of the top five, including a former champ, PLUS another seeded former champ. As she turned 19.
She singlehandedly wrecked the draw. I’m pretty sure she can win a slam without help.

We say every year around this time: Rafa may have one more French title left in him… It has to be true eventually.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

CF1, I hope Novak continues to play full time, but Federer has had some pretty good success playing mainly for Slams. 2017 he won Australia after missing most of 2016 with injuries, then skipped the whole clay season and won Wimbledon.

lylenubbins Says:

Let’s see if Emma can win a slam again. The women’s game for a while has been one and done . . . I thought it was going to Halep, then Mugu, then I stopped caring.

And yes yay for the crowds. We need to put Covid in the rear view mirror and not allow people to use it to permanently change our way of life.

Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/sinnet09/status/1439277248809476099?s=21 Just look at this barbaric behaviour! I have hated faker ever since!😱😱😱😱😱😱

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