Winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open was enough for Daniil Medvedev to finally celebrate – and he pulled out a move from a video game.
But the second seed, having dominated world number one Novak Djokovic to win 6-4 6-4 6-4 at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, changed his mind.
He jumped and fell to the floor after he converted his third championship point – a reference to the brick fall/dead fish goal celebration in the Fifa video game.
“Only legends will understand, what I did at last was L2+left,” he told the New York crowd.
Medvedev produced a near flawless performance to beat Djokovic and end the Serb’s hope of a calendar Grand Slam and a men’s record 21st major singles title.
He revealed afterwards that he had thought up the celebration while struggling to sleep on tour one night.
“To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time,” Medvedev said.
“I need to do something, but I want to make it special.
“It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”
After winning his first Slam, he shared an embrace with Djokovic at the net before standing with his arms outstretched, taking in the applause.
He then returned to his seat to allow the moment to sink in and appeared to ask his support box to calm their own celebrations.
Medvedev reached his first Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows two years ago, where he battled back from two sets down before losing in five to Rafael Nadal.
He took on the role of a pantomime villain during his 2019 run, telling the crowd that their boos had given him “so much energy” to win.
By the time of the final, he had won them over, as he was given several lengthy standing ovations while he fought hard against Nadal.
He referenced his experiences from two years ago in his winner’s speech, saying: “I want to thank you guys [the crowd]. Today it was maybe a little bit more for Novak but that’s completely understandable.
“Throughout the week you guys gave me a lot of energy. Starting from 2019 long ago, it helped me through to today. It was not easy but thanks a lot guys.”
Medvedev also paid tribute to his wife, Daria, joking that it was a good job that he won the title on his wedding anniversary as he had not bought her a present.
“During the tournament I couldn’t think of a present. When I made the final, I thought if I lose I need to find a present fast,” the 25-year-old said.
“I have no time to find a present, I have to win this match.”
While the crowd were largely for Djokovic – they cheered so loudly after he held for 5-4 in in the third set that it reduced him to tears – Medvedev had plenty of support on Arthur Ashe.
It is the second time the two have met in a Slam final this year after Djokovic rolled past Medvedev to win the Australian Open in February.
Djokovic was bidding to become just the sixth player to win a calendar Slam and the first man to do it since Rod Laver in 1969.
“I am sorry for you the fans and Novak. We all know what he was going for today,” Medvedev told the crowd.
“What you have achieved this year and throughout your career, for me, I have never said this before, you are the greatest tennis player in history.”
Medvedev is the first Russian since Maria Sharapova, who was in the crowd on Sunday, to win a US Open singles title after her victory in 2006.
He is also the first man since Nadal in 2010 to drop just one set on his way to the title.
“Medvedev is a fantastic athlete, has a big serve and all the shots,” former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He was the best player in the tournament, without doubt – losing just one set the whole way through and beating Djokovic in the final convincingly.
“He is a very good player on any surface.”