Medvedev’s Australian Open Loss Shows the Men’s Tennis Gulf Is Still Strong

MELBOURNE, Australia — With a lone tear streaking his proper cheek, Daniil Medvedev approved the runner-up trophy after the Australian Open males’s ultimate on Sunday night time. He stepped to the microphone and informed an interesting tale about nervously hitting with Novak Djokovic for the primary time as a tender participant, when Djokovic used to be the lads’s international No. 1 and Medvedev used to be on his technique to a year-ending rating of No. 655.

It wasn’t a stretch for the Rod Laver Area target market of more or less 7,000 to visualise the image that Medvedev, 25, used to be portray of an overmatched thin participant being schooled through the a couple of main winner. What Medvedev used to be describing sounded strikingly very similar to what the fanatics had simply witnessed in Djokovic’s 7-Five, 6-2, 6-2 victory towards Medvedev of their first assembly in a Grand Slam ultimate.

Medvedev, who will ascend to a career-high No. three within the new scores, appeared much less like a participant driving a 20-matching profitable streak — snapped through Djokovic — than an outclassed hitting spouse. Djokovic returned serves that had long gone for aces in Medvedev’s earlier suits and he moved quickly and harried Medvedev into 30 unforced mistakes towards 24 winners, most effective 3 of which got here off his backhand, which Medvedev most often wields like a hammer to nail issues.

Djokovic’s elastic palms, which allowed him to stretch for serves that others would simply watch fall for aces, an increasing number of unnerved Medvedev, who had averaged three.7 aces a collection in his first six suits. In opposition to Djokovic, he produced six overall. Medvedev’s opening provider recreation set the tone for the fit; he put all of his first serves in play and used to be damaged.

“It’s the type of fit I received all through this match that he received nowadays,” mentioned Medvedev, who closed out his fighters in instantly units in 5 of the primary six rounds. “Most likely he made his recreation that excellent nowadays that I couldn’t keep at my highest degree.”

Medvedev misplaced to Rafael Nadal, who’s tied with Roger Federer for the profession file of 20 Grand Slam singles titles, in 5 units within the U.S. Open ultimate in 2019. And now he has turn out to be Djokovic’s newest sufferer in his run of 18 Grand Slam singles titles — together with 9 at Melbourne Park.

At Medvedev’s age, Djokovic had six Grand Slam singles titles and had misplaced within the finals of 2 others, to Nadal and Federer. He had reached No. 1.

How deep can the game be if the one participant rather than the Large 3 in males’s tennis — made up of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal — to carry the No. 2 spot because the summer time of 2005 is the 33-year-old Andy Murray?

“In fact while you’re available in the market, you wish to have to overcome them,” Medvedev mentioned. “You don’t care that it’s the Large 3 or the Large 100. However that’s why they have got such a lot of Slams. They’re simply in point of fact excellent.”

He added: “I’m no longer shy to mention this. It’s simply the reality.”

Djokovic, 33, described the following era as “hungry.” It’s led through Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, 27, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22, who defeated Nadal within the quarterfinals. However most effective Thiem, the reigning U.S. Open champion who has graced 3 different main finals, has damaged thru within the greatest occasions, and his U.S. Open name got here in a match that Nadal and Federer didn’t input and that Djokovic exited thru a disqualification somewhat than a defeat. What’s holding this era from feeding its urge for food on the Grand Slam ceremonial dinner?

“They’ve indisputably the standard to achieve the heights of main match trophies,” Djokovic mentioned.

He added: “However Roger, Rafa, myself are nonetheless there for a explanation why. We don’t need to hand it to them, and we don’t need to let them win Slams. I believe that’s one thing this is very transparent. Whether or not you keep in touch that message or no longer, we’re indisputably sending that vibe available in the market.”

Medvedev’s frame language grew an increasing number of unfavorable because the 1-hour, 53-minute ultimate wore on. He muttered to himself. He appeared imploringly at his trainer. He smashed a racket. He moved quickly photographs and issues. By means of the 3rd set, Djokovic used to be in all places at the court docket and within Medvedev’s head.

“Subsequent time if I play Novak right here within the ultimate, I needless to say am going to perform a little issues at the court docket, perhaps off the court docket additionally, in a different way, as a result of a minimum of I might have this revel in,” Medvedev mentioned, including, “So I’ll attempt to do one thing higher. Doesn’t imply that I will be able to be triumphant, however that’s the lifetime of a tennis participant.”

The lifestyles within the recreation that Medvedev has carved out for himself gave the impression extra far-off than a speck at the Mediterranean Sea horizon the day he used to be offered to Djokovic in Monaco and started hitting with him.

Djokovic arrived past due for his or her first consultation. And that, Medvedev mentioned, stays the worst factor he can say about him.

“He used to be tremendous great to me,” Medvedev mentioned. “I used to be in point of fact shy. I used to be simply enjoying some balls, attempting to not omit, needless to say in point of fact wired.”

From then to now, tennis turns out, similar to the flat-footed Medvedev on Sunday, a number of steps in the back of the gamers on best.

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