The danger for Novak Djokovic comes from Russia. If anyone manages to keep the Serbian eight-time winner of the Australian Open from his ninth coup, it will probably be Daniil Medvedev. Even the «Djoker», who has never lost a Melbourne final, knows that: «Intelligence is his strongest weapon», he says respectfully before today’s final (9.30 am, SRF 2). Medvedev, who plays chess excellently and also studied mathematics and physics, is known for his unpredictable, technically unconventional game. And that’s exactly what an opponent needs to crack Djokovic, who is usually playful and mentally impressive in the most important matches.
“Experience is the key,” says the Russian intelligentsia after playing Stefanos Tsitsipas fadengrad in three sentences. Well, the 25-year-old’s key word speaks primarily for the 17-time major champion, who will replace Roger Federer as the longest world number 1 in history the week after next. Medvedev also means his own backpack, which he filled with a Grand Slam final at the US Open (loss to Rafael Nadal), three successes in four duels with Djokovic and a winning streak of 20 matches in a row.
The pressure is on Djokovic
Since losing to Kevin Anderson in Vienna in October, he has lost the feeling of losing. He won in Paris-Bercy, at the ATP Finals and the ATP Cup, and on his way to the Aussie Open Final, he won his five-set against Filip Krajinovic, in which he had his own coach Gilles Cervara – ATP trainer of the Year 2019 – sent from the stadium, all matches without losing a set. In addition, he beat all current top 10 players with the exception of Federer, who has paused in recent months.
“It’s all a matter of experience”, the 1.98m-hen sums up his run, “maybe the opponents are a little more afraid of me now.” Of course, he doesn’t see himself as a favorite for a long time. “But I have no pressure and Novak has a lot to lose, because with the 18th major title he wants to move closer to Federer and Nadal,” says Medvedev. But he immediately believed the Serb when he said he wasn’t giving anyone anything. And he also relieved him of the injury that hindered Djokovic in round 3 against Taylor Fritz. “I don’t expect any physical impairment from him on Sunday.”
The Russian sees his role as follows: “I am not an outsider, I am the challenger.”
In any case, the Greek Tsitsipas believes in his youngest conqueror, despite the Serbian superiority: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Daniil won the tournament.” It would still be a sensational breakthrough if super-brain Medvedev actually checkedmate the Aussie Open king and followed in the footsteps of the last Russian triumphant in Melbourne, Marat Safin (2005).
The n after the tournament he would not only overtake world number 3 Dominic Thiem, but also number 2 Nadal. Djokovic’s throne, however, is (for the time being) immune from the Russian threat.
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Daniil Medvedev challenges Novak Djokovic final Australian Open