NEW YORK -- Novak Djokovic was holding serve for a commanding 5-0 lead. He then let out a Kobe Bryant-esque scream, while clenching both his fists.
Alexander Zverev was unable to do much except put his racket in his mouth and eat his frustration. Djokovic, on the other hand, could almost taste history.
Djokovic is just one win away of walking on the tennis' hallowed grounds. Djokovic's victory against Daniil Medvedev, the second-seeded player on Sunday, would make him the first man to win the calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969. With his 21st Grand Slam win, he is now the best player in the World.
Djokovic has won another match and he is now considered the greatest men's tennis player ever. Zverev saw the reason Djokovic is on the verge of becoming a legend and he agrees.
Djokovic stated that Sunday's historic final was his last. "Because it is arguably the most important match of my career perhaps. Perhaps not. I don't know.
Djokovic won five sets in the space of 19 minutes, turning tension-filled semifinals into a fifth-set rout. He defeated the fourth-seeded German 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and 4-6 to 6-2.
Zverev stated that nobody believed anyone would do it again like Rod Laver. He will, I believe. He is breaking every record.
He is the greatest tennis player of all time, according to the statistics. He is the only one who can match him. Most weeks [as] world No. 1, most Masters 1000s titles. Most likely to win the most Grand Slams at end of day. He has the possibility of winning all four titles in one year. What is the best way to compete with that?
Zverev showed Medvedev the extent of one must go in order to defeat Djokovic. Zverev and Djokovic engaged for an absurd 53-ball match at 5-4 in the third sets. This was not only the longest rally at the US Open but also the longest in any major match Djokovic had played this year. To end the exhausting point that lasted for a minute 18 seconds, Zverev had to hit a winner on cross-court.
Djokovic won both the set and the game, but Zverev had a problem. Zverev fought back and won the fourth. As is his usual style, Djokovic punished his opponent in the final match. He is a great closer in the game. He is the greatest player to have won 32 consecutive five-setter slams.
Djokovic almost always saves the best of his tennis for last. He stepped up to the fifth level to beat Zverev.
Zverev stated that Zverev is the greatest player ever to play the game mentally. "Mentally, in the most crucial moments, I would prefer to play against him," Zverev said.
Djokovic isn't playing just the opponent on the other end of the net. Djokovic is also dueling with history, as Laver watches over his shoulder from the stands.
Serena Williams lost her bid to win a calendar slam in 2015 when she was defeated by Roberta Vinci. Williams avoided talking about history when she entered that Open.
Djokovic stated that he won the US Open title "that year" in reference to one of his three titles. Serena was the one I was speaking to. She was extremely emotional about all that was happening. I can understand what she is going through now. It's all now clear to me. It is understandable why she didn't want to answer all the questions. After all, it is up to you to deliver the verdict in court.
It is fitting that Bryant was quoted by Djokovic before he finished his late-night news conference. Bryant is someone Djokovic admires since childhood. Bryant's famous line from 2009 NBA Finals, when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 2-0, was something Djokovic remembered.
"It was his famous interview in which he said, "Why should I be happy now?" Djokovic stated that job is not over. "... This is the attitude I hold. "Job is never done."