Australian Open: Djokovic was a god to me – Medvedev gracious after final defeat

By Sports Desk February 21, 2021

Daniil Medvedev was gracious in defeat to an inspired Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open final on Sunday.

A contest billed as a potential classic was over in one hour and 53 minutes as Djokovic claimed a ninth title in Melbourne and 18th career major.

The world number one, who lost to Medvedev at the ATP Finals last year, triumphed 7-5 6-2 6-2 to extend his record to nine victories and zero defeats in the final of this tournament and close to within two grand slams of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Medvedev was disappointed he could not prolong the contest but had nothing but praise for Djokovic on and off the court, a player he described as "a god to me".

The Russian said: "I first practiced with Novak when I was like 500 or 600 in the world in Monaco and he was already number one, he'd just won Wimbledon. I thought, 'There's no way he's gonna speak to me.' The guy was a god to me.

"I was really shy. He was talking to me like I was a friend. He's never changed, whether I'm 600 in the world or four in the world, he's always been a great sport and a great friend.

"I really wanted to make this match longer and more entertaining for you. Today was not the day."

Djokovic was similarly full of praise for Medvedev, who had been on a 20-match winning streak heading into the final.

The Serbian fully expects Medvedev to become a major winner in future, although he hopes to add a few more to his collection first.

"You're a class act, a great guy," Djokovic said. "We used to spend more time together. You're not calling me any more in the last few years! But it's nice you're thinking good things about me.

"I really like Daniil off the court, but on the court, he's definitely one of the toughest players I faced in my life. It's a matter of time before you're holding a grand slam, for sure, if you don't mind waiting a few years!"

After a difficult build-up to the tournament, in which Djokovic lobbied for an easing of certain restrictions on players forced to quarantine in hotels after arriving in Australia, he credited authorities for ensuring a smooth running of events in Melbourne.

"There are a lot mixed feelings about what happened in the last month or so, but I think in the end it was a successful tournament for everyone," he said.

"It wasn't easy, it was very challenging on many different levels, but they [Tennis Australia] should be proud of themselves for what they put together and allowing us to come to Australia.

"I'd like to thank the Rod Laver Arena. I love you each year more and more. The love affair keeps going."

Related items

  • Jack Draper eases into the last eight in Acapulco Jack Draper eases into the last eight in Acapulco

    Jack Draper needed little more than an hour to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

    The 22-year-old, who beat seventh seed Tommy Paul in the previous round, proved too strong for Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, winning 6-3 6-0 in 68 minutes.

    The British number three started strongly, breaking the world number 82 in his opening scoring game and threatening as he opened a 3-0 lead.

    Games went on serve as Nishioka fought to stay in touch at 5-3, but Draper served out to win the opening set in 42 minutes.

    He was barely troubled after that, again breaking Nishioka to start the second set.

    He broke twice more and stayed firm on his own serve to book a place in the last eight.

  • Andy Murray: I’m likely not going to play past this summer Andy Murray: I’m likely not going to play past this summer

    Andy Murray confirmed he is set to retire this summer after losing to Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

    Murray produced his best win for several months in the first round by seeing off Denis Shapovalov but fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against 18th-ranked Frenchman Humbert.

    Speaking to reporters post-match, the 36-year-old said of his future: “I’m likely not going to play past this summer.

    “I get asked about it after every single match that I play, every single tournament that I play. I’m bored of the question, to be honest.

    “I’m not going to talk more about that between now and whenever the time comes for me to stop. But, yes, I don’t plan on playing much past this summer.”

    Murray has not won more than a single match at any tournament since August and, after beating Shapovalov, the Scot talked about trying to do his best “these last few months”.

    Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme: “When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament.”

    While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

    Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

    If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

    Murray dropped serve twice in succession in the opening set against Humbert and was unable to apply any real pressure on his opponent’s delivery, winning just seven return points during the contest.

    The second set was a little closer, but Murray cut a thoroughly frustrated figure, ranting at himself and smacking the umpire’s chair with his racket, as he attempted to trade with the clean-hitting Frenchman, who clinched victory after only an hour-and-a-half.

  • Andy Murray well beaten by Ugo Humbert in Dubai Andy Murray well beaten by Ugo Humbert in Dubai

    Andy Murray’s search for back-to-back wins goes on after he was comfortably beaten by Ugo Humbert in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

    Murray produced his best win for several months in the first round by seeing off Denis Shapovalov but fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against 18th-ranked Frenchman Humbert.

    Murray dropped serve twice in succession in the opening set and was unable to apply any real pressure on Humbert’s delivery, winning just seven return points during the contest.

    The second set was a little closer, but Murray cut a thoroughly frustrated figure as he attempted to trade with the clean-hitting Frenchman, who clinched victory after only an hour-and-a-half.

    Murray has not won more than a single match at any tournament since August and speculation continues around when he will depart the court for good.

    After beating Shapovalov, the Scot talked about trying to do his best “these last few months”, but he has now hinted he would like to keep going until at least this summer’s Olympics.

    Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to bow out, and he told Radio 4’s Today programme he is likely to make that information public at some point.

    “When the time is right I will probably say something before I play my last match and my last tournament,” he said. “Whether I say anything months ahead of the time, I don’t know.”

    While Wimbledon appears the most logical venue for Murray to call time on his glittering career, the Scot is tempted by another crack at the Olympics in Paris this summer.

    Murray is the only tennis player to have won back-to-back singles gold medals, in London and Rio, and he said: “Hopefully I can get the chance to compete at another one.”

    If the Scot does not qualifying by ranking – he has slipped down the standings to 67 – he could seek a spot in the draw as a previous champion.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.