Who could follow in the footsteps of Medvedev and win first Grand Slam?

Tom Avery September 13, 2021
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev swept aside Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the US Open final yesterday to win his first Grand Slam title, which prevented the Serbian from making history.

Second seed Medvedev had lost his two previous Grand Slam finals – against Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – but looked calm and composed throughout the final yesterday (Sunday, 12 September), which he won 6-4 6-4 6-4.

This season, Djokovic had already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles but looked rattled throughout the match and crippled by the burden of making history.

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The 34-year-old hoped to complete a calendar sweep of the majors, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since Rod Laver in 1969 (BBC Sport).

Had he beaten Medvedev, Djokovic would also have moved clear of rivals Roger Federer and Nadal in the battle to see who can finish with the most men’s majors.

There’s no doubt Djokovic will use the disappointment of losing the US Open final and failing to win Olympic gold in Tokyo as fuel for motivation to come back stronger.

But Medvedev’s performance will give the rest of the tennis locker room belief the big three’s stranglehold on men’s tennis is waning.

So who else is waiting in the wings?

Who could follow in Medvedev’s footsteps in 2022 and win their first Grand Slam?

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Like Medvedev, Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have been knocking on the door.

Zverev lost to Dominic Thiem in last year’s US Open final, while Tsitsipas was two sets to love up against Djokovic in this year’s French Open final.

Matteo Berrettini has had the best season of his career so far and broke new ground at all four Grand Slams. However, apart from the Australian Open the Italian came up against an inspired Djokovic on each occasion, which included the Wimbledon final.

Young stars Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz will continue to improve and cause major upsets, but next year may come too soon for them to win the major prizes.

Just as we’ve seen in the women’s draw, the future of men’s tennis has plenty of talented youngsters ready to break through and embark on a new era.

These are exciting times in tennis.

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