Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro both said they felt sorry for Serena Williams following the controversial women's singles final.
An eight-time finalist in NY who had only previously lifted the trophy in 2011 and 2015, the Serbian was made to work hard on Sunday as Del Potro came from a break down in the second and third sets.
For Del Potro, it was a heartbreaking experience coming in just his second Slam final, nine years after he was crowned US Open champion.
"Of course, I'm sad because I lost but I'm happy for Novak and his team".
Prior to his Wimbledon crown, Djokovic had gone two years without a grand slam title, struggling with motivation, confidence and an elbow problem that ruled him out of this tournament 12 months ago. But supported by a dozen or so friends from back home, whose "Ole!" choruses rang around the arena, he climbed up the rankings to a career-high No. 3 by thundering his 100 miles per hour (160 kph) forehands and 135 miles per hour (215 kph) serves.
The win for Djokovic gave him 14 Grand Slams to move into a tie for third on the all-time list alongside Pete Sampras. "He will be the favourite to win on Sunday", Del Potro said.
The WTA is calling for fair treatment of women's players and coaching to be allowed across tennis in the aftermath of the U.S. Open women's final.
"We are proud to be close to these legends", Del Potro said.
"I had to kind of disconnect a little bit", said Djokovic.
"There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder in terms of Grand Slam wins with him".
"I will try to make the surprise again".
He picked up the pace with straight-sets victories over France's Richard Gasquet, Portugal's Joao Sousa, Millman and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori to arrive at a title tilt with good friend Del Potro.
Del Potro was playing in his first Grand Slam final since lifting the US Open title in 2009 at the age of 20, where he registered back-to-back wins against Nadal and Federer. "I try to take the best part of myself in those moments and thrive on the support of my loved ones to get myself in this position".
Since bursting out of the slump with an unexpected Wimbledon title he has gone from strength to strength, adding a long-awaited Cincinnati Masters title to his resume before adding the US Open title to those he won in 2011 and 2015.
"I was playing nearly at my limit all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn't make them because Novak was there every time", Del Potro said. I don't see it's necessary really to debate that.
With the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof closed as heavy rain swept NY, conditions were slow and sluggish.