Alexander Zverev has broken down in tears after his agonising loss in the US Open final.
Dominic Thiem became the first man in 71 years to win the US Open after dropping the first two sets of the final on Sunday.
‘TOUGH TO WATCH’: 'Shocking' drama rocks US Open final
Thiem earned his first grand slam title with a 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) comeback victory against Zverev in New York.
The US Open had never been decided by a fifth-set tiebreaker before.
Pancho Gonzalez made a similar turnaround against Ted Schroeder in 1949 to win the event, then known as the US Championships.
Zverev looked completely gutted after throwing away the final from a two-sets-to-love lead.
He then burst into tears as he thanked his parents for their support in his runner-up speech.
“They're always with me in every single tournament that I go to,” the German said.
“Unfortunately, my dad and mother tested positive... and they couldn't have gone with me.
“I miss them. Man, this is tough. I'm sure they're sitting at home and even though I lost, they're pretty proud.”
Zverev paused a number of times as he wept, before finishing the classy speech.
Omg Sasha Zverev speech was heartbreaking..talking about his parents, got me crying with him. #USOpen— Lisa (@lisamarieLML) September 14, 2020
Genuinely feel bad for Zverev watching his runner-up speech. #usopen— Quite Aracquet (@QuiteARacquet) September 14, 2020
It doesn’t matter who you choose to support in this sport; every tennis fan definitely shed a tear for Sascha Zverev during his emotional runner-up speech.— Max Gao (@MaxJGao) September 14, 2020
There is no doubt that he will learn from this and will find himself in many more Grand Slam finals in the future.#USOpen https://t.co/TxKIZKgeTJ
Zverev’s speech almost had me tearing up. Feel bad for the guy. Hopefully he’ll win a slam in the next year or so.— Kremmen (@pbtbl) September 14, 2020
Its impossible not to be a zverev fan after his speech. I hope he rebounds quickly.— gjwood (@gjwood) September 14, 2020
Dominic Thiem pulls off crazy comeback
The 27-year-old Thiem entered Sunday's final with an 0-3 career record in major title matches.
This was fifth-seed Zverev’s debut in a grand slam final.
Thiem, the No.2 seed and World No.3, became the first Austrian to claim a singles title at Flushing Meadows, albeit in unique circumstances as no fans were present at the hardcourt major due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zverev was attempting to become the first German grand slam champion since Boris Becker won the Australian Open in 1996.
Thiem is also the first grand slam champion other than Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer since Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka won the third of his majors at the 2016 US Open.
Zverev smashed four aces and 16 winners in the first set as he displayed an impressive serve and volley game to take a 1-0 lead in just 30 minutes.
The German was helped by some sloppy serving from Thiem, who hit three double faults as he was broken twice, in games three and seven.
In set two, Zverev wasted three set points while 5-1 up but held on to take a 2-0 lead on his fifth set point.
The tide was beginning to turn though as Zverev's play became increasingly cagey as his suspect second serve got slower and his forehand, another weakness, became more defensive.
After Thiem easily took set four, Zverev found himself serving for the championship at 5-3 in the fifth set.
But he could not hold and soon Thiem found himself 6-5 ahead. He took a medical timeout before it was his turn to serve for the championship.
However, like Zverev moments earlier, Thiem failed to clinch the match and it went to a tie-break.
He found himself 5-3 up after two double faults by Zverev but Thiem, by now exhausted and limping, blew two championship points.
He won the title on his third and collapsed to the court with his head in his hands.