9. Celebration Change-Up: Medvedev's video game move accompanies Grand Slam win

Players react in different ways when they win a Grand Slam. Some lift up their arms and roar. Others pump their fists. Some fall to the ground. Daniil Medvedev did none of these things when he won this year's US Open. Instead, the Russian flopped to his side and slumped on the ground before getting up and shaking hands.

It left most of those watching confused, but the gamers knew what he was doing—the FIFA video game goal celebration often performed by soccer players on screen. "Only legends will understand what I did," he said in his winner's speech.


If anything else was needed to announce that a new, younger generation had arrived, this was it. Medvedev's victory made him not only the first of his cohort to capture a major, but the only Grand Slam champion under 28 years old and along with 2020 champ Dominic Thiem, one of two younger than 31 on the men's tour.

The win was perhaps even more notable for what it prevented instead of achieved, stopping finalist Novak Djokovic from winning the Grand Slam by capturing all four in a single season. Yet Djokovic won something he only rarely has in big finals—the backing of the crowd, which rooted for him to achieve what would have been a historic feat in Flushing Meadows.

The relationship between Medvedev and crowds has itself been a storied one—he first got New York's attention by riling up fans in his third-round win in 2019 and then getting them on his side during a five-set final against Nadal.

Now, it's his celebrations that are being copied by other players.

Medvedev, who is usually known more for not celebrating when he wins, was back at the soccer celebrations in Davis Cup, and again got boos from the crowd during ties against Spain and Germany.


"If I celebrate, I like to do something fun," he said. "When Cristiano [Ronaldo] played in Madrid, he was doing this celebration a lot of times. That's why I decided to do it. I felt it was fun. But, yeah, probably it was the wrong decision, which can happen."

But in the finals, fans were back on his side. It had been similar in the Paris Masters and ATP Finals, when Medvedev repeatedly got into it with spectators cheering for his opponent but was also the crowd favorite at times.

Whether or not they want him to win, they're watching what he does as he wins.