Whoever wins tonight’s US Open mens final, a piece of history will be created, along with a new name on the trophy.
For six years men’s tennis has been dominated by the big three – Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.
Tonight’s final at Arthur Ashe Stadium will see No.2 seed Dominic Thiem up against fifth seed Alexander Zverev.
Thiem is appearing in a fourth major final, but his first in New York, after beating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the semifinals.
“If I win I have my first. If not, I have to call Andy Murray (and ask) how it is with 0-4,” Austrian Thiem joked.
Zverev will be in his first slam final, improving on his semifinal appearance in Melbourne in January, where he lost to Thiem.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m in the final of a Grand Slam,” Zverev said.
“The two best players in the world are going to be playing on court.”
The last player to win a major other than the big three, was Marin Cilic, in New York in 2014.
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have won the past 13 slams combined.
Only one other player features: Stan Wawrinka.
But with Federer injured, and Nadal and Wawrinka opting out of the New York event this year because of COVID-19 concerns, there was always a chance a new name would be added to the winners’ list.
When Djokovic was sensationally disqualified in the fourth round, and Cilic lost a round earlier – a new name was guaranteed.
Interestingly there only set Thiem has dropped in this event was to Cilic.
Other than that, his tennis has been near perfect.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, Aussie young gun Alex de Minaur and Medvedev have all fallen.
And now it’s Zverev.
“I know what Sascha is capable of,” Thiem said. “In our last match in Australia, we were both really good. It was such a close match.”
Zverev though, has had a tougher run to the final.
Only one match has been in straight sets, a 6-2 6-2 6-1 fourth-round win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The rest have been battles, scraps and tight finishes as the German has shown how far he has come since that Melbourne defeat.
He’s the champion of the comeback in this tournament, coming back from two sets down to Borna Coric to win, and then again down by two against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.
“It’s going to be a new Grand Slam champion, but it’s going to be also a very difficult match I think,” Zverev said.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m just excited about it.”
The last time a German won the US Open men’s crown was in 1989. Boris Becker.