Winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open was enough for Daniil Medvedev to finally celebrate – and he pulled out a shot from a video game.
But the second seed, having dominated the world number one Novak Djokovic win 6-4 6-4 6-4 at Flushing Meadows on Sunday, changed his mind.
He jumped and fell to the ground after converting his third league point – a reference to the falling brick / dead fish goal celebration in the Fifa video game.
“Only the legends will understand, what I finally did was L2 + left,” he told the New York crowd.
Medvedev produced an almost flawless performance to beat Djokovic and put an end to the Serbian’s hope of a Grand Slam schedule and a men’s record 21st major singles title.
He later revealed that he envisioned the celebration as he struggled to sleep while on tour one night.
“Not celebrating 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 be successful on hard courts. I’ve been hurt a bit, but I’m happy to have become legendary for myself.”
After winning his first Slam, he shared a hug with Djokovic at the net before holding his arms outstretched, to applause.
He then returned to his seat to let the moment settle 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 fought back after two sets before losing in five to Rafael Nadal.
He took on the role of a pantomime villain during his run in 2019, telling the crowd their boos gave him “so much energy” to win.
By the time of the final he had won them as he received several long standing ovations as he fought hard against Nadal.
He referred to his experiences from two years ago in his winner’s speech, saying, “I want to thank you guys. [the crowd]. Today it might have been a bit more for Novak, but it’s completely understandable.
“Throughout the week you have given me a lot of energy. From 2019 a long time ago it has helped me until today. It was not easy but thank you very much them guys.”
Medvedev also paid tribute to his wife, Daria, joking that it was a good job he won the title on his wedding anniversary because he hadn’t bought her a present.
“During the tournament I couldn’t think of a gift. When I reached the final I thought if I lost I had to find a gift quickly,” said the 25-year-old.
“I don’t have time to find a gift, I have to win this game.”
While the crowd was largely for Djokovic – they cheered so loudly after he held 5-4 in the third set that it made her cry – Medvedev had a lot of support on Arthur Ashe.
This is the second time the two have met in a Slam final this year after Djokovic passed Medvedev to win the Australian Open in February.
Djokovic aimed to become the sixth player to win a Slam on the calendar and the first man to do so since Rod Laver in 1969.
“I’m sorry for you the fans and Novak. We all know what he wanted to do today,” Medvedev told the crowd.
“What you have accomplished this year and throughout your career, for me, I have never said it 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 lose just one set en route to the title.
“Medvedev is a fantastic athlete, he has a big serve and all the hits,” former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He was without a doubt the best player in the tournament – losing just one set throughout and convincingly beating Djokovic in the final.
“He’s a very good player on any surface.”