Novak Djokovic was on the wrong side of the court, and the celebration, a year ago after the last ball was struck in the U.S. Open final.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, though, as he watched Rafael Nadal fall to the blue concrete and bask in the lights of the world’s biggest tennis stadium, Djokovic had a sense that someday, that could be him.
On Monday night, it was.
After defeating Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 over 4 hours and 10 minutes of relentless, draining tennis, Djokovic dropped to his knees and kissed the same concrete that Nadal ruled last year, celebrating a win that slapped an exclamation point on one of the greatest seasons in the sport’s history.
A win that, in many ways, came out of a loss on the same court.