'Beautiful moment': US Open runner-up's incredible act in defeat

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Alexander Zverev (pictured in white) sharing a special handshake with Dominic Thiem (pictured in red) after the US Open Final.
Alexander Zverev (pictured in white) showed his class with a secret handshake with friend and US Open winner Dominic Thiem (pictured in red) right after the gut-wrenching loss. (Getty Images)

German Alexander Zverev may have suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to his rival and long-time friend Austrian Dominic Thiem in the US Open Final, but he showed unbelievable class with a ‘beautiful’ gesture right after the loss.

Zverev, 23, was up two-sets and a break in the US Open final against Thiem, 27, and had an opportunity to serve out the match against his friend and rival when nerves got the best of him.

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The emotion of the devastating loss was written across Zverev’s face in his post-match speech as he broke down in ‘heartbreaking’ fashion.

Zverev revealed his parents had tested positive for Covid-19 just before the tournament and were not able to visit and watch him in his first ever Grand Slam final.

But, despite the agonising defeat, Zverev showed how much he values his friendship with Thiem in an unbelievable moment of sportsmanship right before embracing him seconds after the loss.

Thiem collapsed to the floor with a mixture of joy and exhaustion after winning the fifth-set tie break to hand him the US Open 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.

But Zverev, who could have been forgiven if he met Thiem at the net following the gut-wrenching loss, showed enormous class to walk over to his friend and congratulate him with their ‘special’ handshake.

Zverev then embraced Thiem as the pair trudged back towards their chairs and collapsed overwhelmed with emotion.

The German’s sportsmanship was made all the more respectable when cameras captured him devastated and in shock sitting on his chair just a few seconds later.

Fans also felt for Zverev when he broke down in his post-match speech and struggled to talk because of the disappointment.

Thiem later praised his friend: "I wish we could have two winners today. I think we both deserved it.”

Fans not only couldn’t get enough of the ‘special handshake’ but praised Zverev for putting his friendship with Thiem above his disappointment.

Thiem creates history in US Open final

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.

The Austrian also made history after the astonishing come back, which was the first time at the US Open since 1949 when a men’s player had come back from two-sets down to win the US Open final.

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.