In a final reminiscent of the famous loss here in 2021 that denied a historic Calendar Slam, Novak Djokovic was relentless as he exacted sweet revenge on Daniil Medvedev to win the 2023 U.S. Open. But organisers were left grateful that the tournament ended without any fatalities, as temperatures reached 35 C (95 F) in New York.
Under the lights in New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium, Novak Djokovic’s enduring talent showed in typical fashion.
The Serbian tennis star made light work of Daniil Medvedev, just two years on from a famous loss that denied Djokovic the rare Calendar Slam – winning all four major Grand Slam titles in the calendar year – to secure his record 24th Grand Slam title of his career.
Djokovic’s fourth U.S. Open victory extends his record as the most decorated tennis player of all time.
But throughout this tournament, organisers have been put under increasing pressure to better protect its players, as temperatures in New York exceed 35 C (95 F) due to a “brutal” heatwave that has gripped the city.
According to an analysis conducted by AP, “the average high temperatures felt during the U.S. Open and the three other major tennis tournaments steadily have gotten higher and more dangerous in recent decades, reflecting the climate change that created record heat waves around the globe this summer.”
“One player is going to die.”Daniil Medvedev
The U.S. Open, historically, has always been the hottest of the four major Grand Slams throughout the calendar year, held during the August-September months when New York is feeling the heat.
But for the athletes who are out on the iconic blue hard courts throughout the two-week tournament, the increase of heat-related illness is becoming an increasingly grave problem.
WATCH Daniil Medvedev expresses fears that someone might die due to extreme heat below.
Players were provided with courtside tubes that blasted cold air for momentary relief during the matches. But as temperatures soar past comfortable levels, the 75 seconds between games and two minutes between sets that are permitted during matches, simply isn’t enough time for players to recover from the harsh conditions.
“At the end of the first set I couldn’t see the ball any more,” admitted Medvedev, who required an inhaler and two medical timeouts during the hottest day of the tournament. “I played with sensations – try to go for it, try to run, try to catch the balls – and he did the same sometimes.”
Fortunately for Djokovic and Medvedev, this year’s final was played in cooler conditions than the earlier matches. But if this upward trend is set to continue in the coming years, increasing concerns over player safety will only become more prevalent with the rising temperatures… and pretty soon, it will become far too hard to ignore.