Djokovic, roared by a noisy crowd of Flushing Meadows, cried into his towel during the third set, tears in his eyes as he lined up on the baseline for the next game.
The adulation for World No. 1 contrasted starkly with the treatment of Russian Medvedev, who was forced to endure boos from the New York crowd as he served for the championship point.
With Medvedev serving for his first major title at 40-15 in the third set, taunts could be heard in the din at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 25-year-old double-faulted, triggering jubilant roars among the New York crowd, but Medvedev quickly recovered to win the next point and clinch the title.
“Wow, that was special,” Medvedev told CNN’s Carolyn Manno, when asked about the partisan atmosphere.
“As soon as we got out on the pitch it was different from any game I have played here before. You felt it was a special night, special, a special night, more for him and the crowd that was looking for him and they tried so hard to take him away.
“They sure didn’t want to bother me on purpose, I doubt it, but of course before the second serve you get screaming and double faulting and the whole crowd going crazy – it’s really tough.
“I know I have to focus on myself and how to win this game, and once again I managed to do that so that’s all that matters,” he added.
Used to playing the villainous in New York City, Medvedev’s tolerant reaction fell short of his response to boos at the US Open two years ago, when the Russian was later fined for unsportsmanlike conduct and visible obscenity during his victory over the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. .
As he was continuously booed throughout his post-match interview, Medvedev waved his encouragement and told the crowd, “I won because of you.”
Still, hints of his more tolerant reaction were evident in comments made to CNN ahead of this year’s tournament, as Medvedev admitted he had learned his “lessons” from that explosive experience of 2019.
“I’m sorry”: Medvedev feels sorry for Djokovic in tears
Djokovic has also been at his wit’s end at the site in the past, but there was only overwhelming love for the Serbian this time around.
Six years ago, in his triumph over Roger Federer, Djokovic found himself as the second favorite in the New York crowd, but was roared throughout his pursuit of a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam against Medvedev. .
Sitting in his chair at 5-4 in the third set, a huge wave of encouragement saw an emotional Djokovic shed tears as he covered his face with his towel before returning to the baseline.
“I told him sorry,” Medvedev told CNN when asked what he said to Djokovic at net after his victory.
“Tennis is such a brutal sport – there are two guys and one is going to lose, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first round or the final.
“I’m still looking at Novak, Rafa [Nadal], Roger [Federer] play those finals and I feel like every time in the speech they feel sorry for their opponent because they know how they feel.
“I stopped Novak from doing something crazy and amazing in the history of tennis and I’m sorry for him.
“I’m happy for myself but I’m sorry for him that’s what I said and yes Novak is such a great guy he just said I deserve everything and he really hugged me. arms and it’s amazing. “
“Pure happiness” for Medvedev
Boos aside, a stunning victory marked a crowning glory for Medvedev, made all the sweeter by the pain of the two Grand Slam final defeats that preceded him.
He was selected for his first US Open final in an exhilarating five-set fight against Rafael Nadal two years ago, before suffering a straight-set loss to Djokovic in the Australian Open final. in February.
Returning the script to New York, Medvedev revealed he had doubts before his first triumph.
“It’s pure bliss,” he told CNN.
“Being in two finals before, losing to Rafa and Novak, amazing players. Coming into this one you always think, ‘Am I strong enough to be able to prevent Novak from getting a grand slam on the calendar?’
“I wasn’t playing my best but he destroyed me in Australia; I didn’t feel good afterwards, the confidence went down a bit.
“I’m really happy I was able to give my best today. I managed to win against one of the all-time greats in straight sets in a game that meant everything to him. .. It is special.”