Daniil Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic's dream of winning a career grand slam after a scintillating US Open final performance, but the Russian was all class in his post-match speech.
Medvedev produced his best match of the year to defeat Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to halt the World No.1's charge for 21 major titles and end hopes of a calendar grand slam.
'APPALLING': Novak Djokovic in ugly meltdown in US Open final
'SHOULD BE ASHAMED': Uproar over 'sickening' US Open final scenes
'DISGUSTING TO SEE': Emma Raducanu in US Open 'disgrace'
The Russian was in imperious form from the start and Djokovic couldn't find the answer even if the crowd rallied behind the Serb's quest for tennis immortality.
But, after watching Djokovic break down in tears during and afterward the match, Medvedev opted to pay respect to the 20-time grand slam champ for his remarkable season.
"First of all, I think this is the first time I've been so nervous saying my speech," Medvedev said.
"I want to say, sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he was going for today.
"I just want to say...what you have accomplished this year and throughout your career, I never said this to anybody, but I'll say it right now, for me you are the greatest tennis player in history."
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) September 12, 2021
The Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd showed their appreciation for Medvedev's kind words and cheered Djokovic.
The World No.1 was seen thanking Medvedev during the speech.
Novak Djokovic thanks crowd after breaking down
Djokovic showed grace in defeat after showering Medvedev with praise in his post-match speech.
"Thank you, so much, guys. I would like to start off by saying congratulations to Daniil, amazing, amazing match. Amazing tournament," Djokovic said.
"If there is anyone who deserves the Grand Slam title right now it is you, so well done, absolutely.
"We get along very well. I wish you many more Grand Slams and majors to follow and I'm sure that you will be on the stage in the future again."
"Tonight, even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I'm the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special on the court."@DjokerNole | #USOpenpic.twitter.com/y7Q4WxpSsf
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 12, 2021
Medvedev's words would have meant a lot for Djokovic after he broke down just before match point after realising his dream in 2021 would not come to fruition.
And the World No.1 took solace in a rare moment that would have felt foreign to him throughout his tennis career, a raucous grand slam final crowd willing him on.
A large number of the 2021 crowds at the US Open have barracked against the World No.1.
But in the final, watching the pain on Djokovic's face, the crowd got right behind him and willed him on in the final set.
While it was not meant to be for Djokovic, he said the moment was one of his highlights.
"Tonight, even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I'm the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special on the court," a tearful Djokovic said.
He again thanked the crowd in his post-match press conference, which he labelled as one of his career highlights.
"I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York," Djokovic said.
"The crowd made me (feel) very special.
"I did not expect anything, but the amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something that I'll remember forever."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.