WASHINGTON, September 16, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
When Novak Djokovic arrived at his final US Open press conference inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, about an hour after he lost the title match 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Daniil Medvedev Sunday evening, he wore many emotions on his sleeve. The Serbian was part happy, part tired, part relieved.
While the World No. 1 and top seed certainly was disappointed that he fell short of his goal of winning the US Open, which would have completed a calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis for the first time since Rod Laver accomplished the feat in 1969 and also earned him his 21st career major – lifting him ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – for one of the first times during the fortnight, the New York crowd made Djokovic feel very special.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 12, 2021
“So many different emotions,” Djokovic said. “What I said on the ceremony, I really mean it. Of course, part of me is very sad. It’s a tough one to swallow, this loss, I mean, considering everything that was on the line.”
“But on the other hand I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York,” he added. “The crowd made me very special. They pleasantly surprised me. I did not know, I did not expect anything, but the amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something that I’ll remember forever. I mean, that’s the reason on the changeover I just teared up. The emotion, the energy was so strong. I mean, it’s as strong as winning 21 Grand Slams. That’s how I felt, honestly. I felt very, very special.
“They touched my heart, honestly. Of course, in the end of the day you want to win. You’re a professional athlete. These are the kind of moments that you cherish. These are connections that you establish with people that will be lasting for a very long time.
“Yeah, it was just wonderful.”
Tennis stars shine on the Met Gala red carpet
Less than 24 hours after Daniil Medvedev won the US Open men’s single title Sunday, ATP and WTA stars were filling the red carpet at the 2021 Met Gala and rubbing shoulders with the fashion elite at the Metropolitian Museum of Art on New York’s East Side Monday evening. The annual Met Gala event raises money for the Costume Institute. This year, one of the co-chairs of the event was Naomi Osaka.
Met 2021 pic.twitter.com/JebljEvoyT
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) September 14, 2021
Among the tennis stars who were trending on social media for walking the Met Gala red carpet as well as for what they wore were: Osaka, Serena and Venus Williams, US Open women’s champion Emma Raducanu and finalist Leylah Fernandez, plus Felix Auger-Aliassime, Sloane Stephens, and power couple Matteo Berrettini and Ajla Tomljanovic. All were in a cheerful mood to help celebrate the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary.
— wta (@WTA) September 14, 2021
The 19-year-old Fernandez, attired in a simple black and white stripe minidress that’s part of the Carolina Herrera Spring Summer 2022 Collection, inspired by dresses from the Spring 1998 collection as worn by the Williams sisters, wrote on her Instagram: “Missed the prom, went straight to the Met Gala.”
By Wednesday afternoon, Fernandez’s post had generated nearly 96,000 likes and more than 1,400 comments.
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Game, set, marriage for Simona Halep
World No. 13 Simona Halep went home to Romania after the US Open, following her round of 16 loss against Elina Svitolina. On Wednesday, two weeks shy of her 30th birthday, Halep and her boyfriend, billionaire Romanian businessman Toni Iuruc, were married in a small, private civil ceremony in Constanta, her hometown on the Black Sea.
The official signing today of marriage for Simo and Toni in Romania❤️ Congratulations and big hugs to you both. An amazing couple. Have a great celebration with family and friends tonight! 🍾💃🕺 pic.twitter.com/w3tFr1oxFJ
— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) September 15, 2021
Murray wants to play as much as possible
After taking World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets before losing in the first round of the US Open two weeks ago, Andy Murray now wants “to play as much as possible.” After frequent layoffs due to illness and after going through hip-resurfacing surgery, the three-time major champion and former World No. 1 has been limited to playing in just nine events this year.
The 116th-ranked Murray began the year in February by reaching the finals of an ATP Challenger Tour indoor hard court event in Biella, Italy, and has returned this week to the Challenger circuit in another indoor hard court tournament, the Open Blot Rennes at Rennes, France. In ATP tour-level play, Murray has compiled a win-loss record of 6-7. In all competitions, he’s 12-8, following his 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 second-round loss to 158th-ranked Roman Safiullin of Russia on Wednesday evening.
— Open Blot Rennes (@OpenBlotRennes) September 13, 2021
“I really appreciate being back on court,” the fifth-seeded Murray said after his first-round win on Monday against Yannick Madden at Rennes. “I was really happy with the way I played and also the way I recovered,” Murray told Ouest France in an interview. “My training has been good for a while, and it was good to get to reproduce that in competition.”
Earlier this week, Murray accepted a wild card to play in the San Diego Open, a new ATP 250 outdoor hard court event in San Diego, Calif., that begins Sept. 27.
“I still feel I can play a very high level,” Murray said, quoted by the Rennes ATP Challenger website. “Every time I go to a tournament, I play at top player at the start. It’s not easy.”
De Groot felt joy, relief after winning wheelchair Golden Slam
Sunday afternoon, a few hours before Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev settled the US Open men’s title on Arthur Ashe Stadium, next door in Louis Armstrong Stadium, history was being made by Diede de Groot.
The 24-year-old Dutch wheelchair star, seeded first, captured a Golden Slam with her 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 2 seed Yui Jamiji of Japan. It capped a year in which de Groot had won all four major titles plus the Paralympics gold medal. She’s now a 24-time Grand Slam champion – 12 each in singles and doubles – and is the World No. 1 in both singles and doubles.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 12, 2021
Asked during her press conference what kinds of feelings – relief, joy? – she was experiencing, de Groot said:
“I think a little bit of everything. There’s definitely a lot of joy. I think after the match there was also a lot of relief. Maybe that came first and then came the joy.
“Yeah, no, like I’ve been saying, there’s so much pressure on it. Sometimes that makes you just work towards the goals and not really enjoy it as much. So I’m really just looking forward to now have completed this and enjoy the rest of the season, play without a little bit of pressure I guess.”
De Groot said she was thrilled to be able to play on Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second-largest court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
“It’s just great to see the tour and the professionalism going up each year,” she said. “Yeah, it’s just great to see how so many things are possible. To be the first one to actually get that title is just so special. I don’t think I will ever forget that.”
By the numbers
2021 #USOpen viewership up 33% in prime time & 13% overall
🎾 Men’s championship up 37% for Djokovic’s Grand Slam quest
🎾 Women’s championship up 30% – hits highest peak audience of the tournament
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 15, 2021
FWIW: Channel 4 in the UK said Emma Raducanu’s win averaged 7.2 million viewers and peaked at 9.2 million viewers. https://t.co/LpqKTS9Eto
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 14, 2021
The Way Back Machine / Stan Smith, 1971 US Open
#OnThisDay in 1971 ⏪
Stan Smith fends off the challenge of Jan Kodes to win his first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open!
On Sunday, he presented Daniil Medvedev with the trophy after the men’s singles final. pic.twitter.com/OaoY33SfY8
— ITF (@ITFTennis) September 15, 2021