Daiil Medvedev (308436)
Credit: US Open photo

Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu became first time Grand Slam winners by capturing the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the 2021 US Open last weekend. The 25-year-old, No. 2 seed Medvedev defeated No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium to deny Djokovic a men’s record 21st Grand Slam championship and the calendar slam. Djokovic previously won this year’s Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Raducanu, 18, who entered the tournament ranked 150th in the world, became the first qualifier in the Open (professional) era, which began in 1968, to reach a Grand Slam final in besting 19-year-old sensation Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday. Raducanu, from Great Britain, and Fernandez, a native of Montreal, Canada, who was 73rd in the world rankings at the outset of the Open, became the first teenagers to meet in a Grand Slam final since Serena Williams and Martina Hingis matched up at the 1999 US Open.

Medvedev, from Russia’s capital city Moscow, was aggressive from the beginning in facing Djokovic and effectively carried out his game plan throughout the three setter. “For the confidence and for my future career, knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0,” he said of his victory over Djokovic, “in a year in Grand Slams, I lost to him in Australia, he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him, it definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come on hard courts so far, but let’s see about other surfaces.” 

Djokovic was indeed impressed with his opponent. “He came out very determined on the court,” said the 34-year-old from Serbia. “You could feel that he was just at the highest of his abilities in every shot. He had a lot of clarity what he needs to do tactically. He has executed it perfectly.”

Similarly, Raducanu was efficient and at times dominant, spanning the entire event. “You say, ‘I want to win a Grand Slam.’ But to have the belief I did, and actually executing, winning a Grand Slam,” said Raducanu of her vision of winning a title. “I can’t believe it.”