Daniil Medvedev made no bones about trolling the US Open crowd on his way to the final, but as the Russian fought back it was his opponent, the ever-popular Rafael Nadal, who felt the wrath of the spectators at Flushing Meadows.
A massive favourite with the crowd and experts ahead of the men’s final, Nadal won the first two sets before Medvedev stormed back to win the next, forcing the match to a deciding fifth set.
Nadal ultimately went on to claim a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in four hours and 51 minutes.
It was in this final set that the crowd began to turn on Nadal, after the Spaniard was twice given a violation for taking too long to serve.
Nadal’s third violation of the match, after he was warned in the first set, proved costly as it robbed him of his first serve, before he double-faulted his second serve.
Medvedev had earlier complained to the umpire about the lengthy breaks Nadal took between service games.
The Russian, in his first Grand Slam final, complained to chair umpire Ali Nili early on in the piece.
“Every time I serve I have to wait. Every time,” he said.
Eventually, Nadal began to be booed for the lengthy delays in between his serves.
But the famously fastidious Nadal refused to get a wriggle on, much to the crowd’s chagrin.
More boos for Nadal for taking his time during his serve. “Have they ever seen him play?” John McEnroe asks. This is the plot twist I didn’t see coming. #usopen— Kelyn Soong (@KelynSoong) September 9, 2019
This crowd has totally turned on Nadal for his time wasting.— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) September 9, 2019
The crowd is really out here booing Nadal. Wow.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) September 9, 2019
Nadal has been very leisurely with the serves tonight, but the fact that the clock rule is different at every major needs to be addressed by ATP and WTA.— Benjamin Freed (@brfreed) September 9, 2019
Slow serves ultimately no obstacle for Nadal
Despite the controversy, Nadal managed to hold off Medvedev in the fifth set to claim a memorable US Open victory.
The win, his 19th Grand Slam tournament win, moved Nadal just one Slam behind Roger Federer on the all-time winner’s list.
It’s his fourth US Open crown (all this decade) - while Federer hasn’t won any in that time.
Only Federer, Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors, with five titles each, have reigned more times than Nadal in New York in the 51-year open era.