Australian Open: 'Cyborgs of tennis' not done yet as Djokovic continues Melbourne dominance

By Sports Desk February 21, 2021

Daniil Medvedev entered the Australian Open final in red-hot form and with a strong recent record against Novak Djokovic – yet he still fell well short.

Djokovic's record-extending ninth Australian Open title and 18th major overall came in comprehensive fashion with a 7-5 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Medvedev at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

Medvedev was on a 20-match winning streak that included 12 victories over top-10 players, including Djokovic - who he had beaten in three of their previous four meetings. Still, the Russian was still dismantled.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have now won 10 of the past 11 grand slams. The other was Dominic Thiem's success last year at the US Open, where Djokovic stunningly defaulted in the fourth round and Nadal and Roger Federer were absent.

The 'Big Four' became the 'Big Three' following Andy Murray's injury woes, and that may now be the 'Big Two'.

Federer shares the men's grand slam record with Nadal on 20, but the last of those for the Swiss great came in 2018 and the 39-year-old has missed the past three majors.

Djokovic, 33, and Nadal, 34, have shown few signs of slowing down. With the Serbian dominating in Melbourne and the Spaniard continuing to own Roland Garros, they seem to have at least one grand slam each locked away every year.

After his loss on Sunday, Medvedev said of the trio of greats: "Nothing else to say than they are undoubtedly, I don't think anyone can argue with this, the three biggest names in tennis history. I'm talking only about results. I'm not talking off court, game. I'm talking about results. What they did in tennis is unbelievable for me.

"I'm 25 now. To win nine Australian Opens, I need to win every year until I'm 34. I mean, I believe in myself, but I don't think I'm able to do it. Same with Rafa. I mean, 13 Roland Garros... We're talking about some cyborgs of tennis in a good way. They're just unbelievable.

"When I'm out there, I'm not thinking, 'Okay, they are too strong for me.' I always want to win. I beat some of them in some big tournaments, like London [the ATP Finals] for example. I just need to be better next time in the grand slam finals against these two guys or Roger."

Thiem took his chance and landed a major at Flushing Meadows, while he has shaped as the most likely successor to Nadal in Paris, where he lost finals in 2018 and 2019. Medvedev has found his rhythm and Sunday's defeat was his second in a major decider.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2020 US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini look like potential threats, while Canadian pair Denis Shapovalov, 21, and Felix Auger-Aliassime, 20, continue improving.

But Medvedev looked more than capable of ending Djokovic's incredible record in Melbourne before falling well short, showing potential challengers they still have a way to go if they are to finally stop the all-time greats.

Related items

  • Individual feats 'secondary' to wins for Wembanyama Individual feats 'secondary' to wins for Wembanyama

    Victor Wembanyama wants victories, not individual feats, after he joined Michael Jordan in the NBA record books.

    Wembanyama became just the second NBA rookie, after Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, to post at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He is just the second player to have five blocks and as many steals in successive games, after the great Jordan.

    However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

    Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

    But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

    "To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

    LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

    "Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

    "But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

    "But I think it came down to maturity at the end because each and every one of us was making a mistake each of the times.

    "Little mistakes, missing a layup, turning the ball over. We went down, we went back to down four, down seven multiple times and that's when we did mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity."

    Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

    "He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

    "He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

    "There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

    "He's one of them to have like a stellar rookie season. Guys that have come in and [dominated]. But, it's, can you sustain it? We've had guys that have come in and [have] just been really damn [good]."

    The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

    "You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

    "Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

    "We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

  • Cameron Norrie sees off home favourite to reach Rio Open semi-finals Cameron Norrie sees off home favourite to reach Rio Open semi-finals

    Cameron Norrie sealed a semi-final spot at the Rio Open, continuing his title defence by seeing off Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild in front of his own fans.

    The British number one secured a 6-1 3-6 6-2 victory to head into the last four.

    Norrie lost just two games in a handsome win over Tomas Barrios Vera in the previous round and picked up exactly where he left off on the clay.

    He raced out of the traps, breaking Seyboth Wild’s second and third service games and holding his own to take the first set in little more than half-an-hour.

    The stands filled up considerably after a quiet start and Seyboth Wild fed off the growing support as he put together a much-improved showing to level the scores.

    With his opponent starting to grow in confidence and the noise levels rising, Norrie allowed errors to creep in with cracks in his first serve and a misjudged long forehand seeing him broken for the first time.

    Seyboth Wild was strong enough to make that breakthrough count and set up a deciding set but found Norrie back on his game as he tore into a 5-1 lead, breaking twice more along the way.

    Norrie missed his chance to finish things off at the first attempt, burning three match points as his South American opponent showed admirable resilience in a see-saw exchange of winners.

    But he soon stacked up three more match points against the serve and converted the second of them as Seyboth Wild’s unforced error ended his fight after just under two hours.

    “I was really proud of how hard I fought, it was so humid and tough physically,” he told Sky Sports.

    “It was a tough one and the atmosphere was great. These are exactly the kind of matches you want to play.”

  • Defending champion Cameron Norrie cruises into Rio Open quarter-finals Defending champion Cameron Norrie cruises into Rio Open quarter-finals

    Cameron Norrie remains on course to defend his Rio Open title after easing into the quarter-finals.

    The British number one won last year’s tournament in Brazil and his path to repeating his glory opened up earlier in the week when top seed Carlos Alcaraz withdrew because of injury.

    And he made light work of Chilean Tomas Barrios Vera on the clay, dropping just two games in a 6-1 6-1 victory.

    Barrios Vera, ranked 120 in the world, was no match for the Norrie, who overcame an early exchange of breaks to reel off four successive games and win the first set.

    Another run of four games on the spin was enough to get the job done with little fuss to set up a quarter-final meeting with Thiago Seyboth Wild.

    “I really played well and was accurate, I hit the lines and was able to control the games,” Norrie said on Sky Sports.

    “I enjoyed it, last night waiting around, it rained a lot and I had to come out and reset and I was able to do that so I was really pleased.

    “I am going to keep focusing on myself and my level and I want to make sure I take care of my matches like that.

    “It’s tough, it’s humid, there’s been a lot of rain and the clay is heavy. It’s not easy out here but I feel like I can play well when the matches go long.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.