As Rafael Nadal fell in his chair, hands running through his hair, the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd stood in unison to applaud the Spaniard.
Emotions were already running high on an electric night at Flushing Meadows but were then ratcheted up a notch by organizers as a montage of Nadal’s illustrious career was shown ahead of the trophy presentation.
The video, which featured each of his grand slam victories, was met by huge cheers from the crowd and reduced Nadal to tears.
“The emotions sometimes are impossible to control and I tried to resist but it was difficult,” Nadal told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell, speaking of the scenes that followed his victory.
“All those people supporting […] these things make this day unforgettable for me.”
Medvedev, who was cast as the villain for much of this year’s tournament, was equally transfixed by the montage.
“If I win, what will they show?” he joked after the match.
The 33-year-old Nadal was made to work tirelessly for the victory by the 23-year-old Russian enjoying the best grand slam run of his career.
Praise for Medvedev
After dropping the first two sets to the Spaniard, Medvedev demonstrated not only his world-class shot-making but a mental fortitude that pushed one of the sports’ greatest into a deciding set.
“It was a dramatic match. The match had everything,” Nadal said, still visibly tired from the marathon encounter that lasted almost five hours.
“Medvedev is one of the toughest competitors and one of the best players in the world.”
’It means a lot’
Nadal clinched his first grand slam in 2005, when he won the first of his 12 French Open titles.
Multiple records and 18 more grand slams have followed but Nadal, who once again dedicated his victory the his family and support team, remained as humble as ever as he reflected on his latest triumph.
“It means a lot to me to have this trophy in my hands. I resisted well during the last three hours of the match. He played amazing,” said Nadal of Medvedev’s performance.
Nadal now sits just one title away from Roger Federer’s record men’s tally of 20 grand slams, but the Spaniard says he’s not thinking about chasing down the Swiss star’s tally.
“I cannot be all the time thinking about more and more. I just try to do it my way. I’m more than happy about the career I have,” he added.
“I can’t be frustrated if the guys are doing a little bit better than me. Let’s see what goes on in the next couple of years.”