Playing in his second Grand Slam final against Novak Djokovic at Arthur Ashe on Sunday, Daniil Medvedev managed to flip the script on the Serb.
The Russian came up with a supreme performance to capture the 2021 US Open, his first Grand Slam title. In the process he also denied Djokovic the chance to complete the coveted Calendar Slam.
But the scenario was very different at the start of this year. Back then Daniil Medvedev suffered a straight-sets defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, and never looked like he could challenge the Serb.
The 25-year-old looked considerably more formidable on Sunday, and according to his long-time coach Gilles Cervara, that was the result of a targeted approach.
In his press conference after his charge's win on Sunday, Cervara said the loss in Melbourne had brought to his attention the lack of "fire" in Medvedev's game. He asserted it was something that needed to change before the Russian played another final.
Cervara also claimed it required a big mental effort from Medvedev to overcome his Australian Open loss, before adding that he felt much more "ready to compete" ahead of Sunday's match.
"After the final in Australia, we had the feeling that Daniil didn't have this fire that can help your game to be much stronger, especially against a player like Novak. This had to change for sure to play this final at another level," Cervara said. "Our feeling yesterday and today was that he was ready to compete and be at a high level."
Highlighting Djokovic's ability to adapt to his opponent's game, Cervara further said a player needs to do "something different" to beat the World No. 1. The 40-year-old added that Medvedev came into the match with a comprehensive game plan and a few fixed strategies on both serve and return.
"Of course, it's easy to say there is not a magic thing," Cervara said. "You have to play at your best, to have quality in your shots, also to know that strategy can change during the match because Novak will adapt during the match. You have to feel when you need to do something different."
"In the game we had couple of strategies," he continued. "Especially sometimes to play more down the middle, to not open so much angle and to run a lot. Of course, to serve good was one of the keys. He served very good today."
"He won because his level on serve was very high" - Gilles Cervara on the deciding factor in Daniil Medvedev's win
Daniil Medvedev posted incredible numbers on his serve in the final. The Russian got broken just once and won 81% of the points behind the first serve.
The strong serving performance, according to Cervara, was the deciding factor in Medvedev's win on Sunday. The coach revealed that they set daily goals in practice sessions leading up to the US Open to ensure that the World No. 2 was at his best level in that department.
"He won because his level on serve was very high," Cervara said. "That's what he needs to do. We took more time to work on this shot. Every day I got my goals in my practices to make him be at his best level on serve."
"With Daniil, when you work something at the good moment, on the good goal, then it works straightaway," he added. "We felt it straightaway in Toronto that the serve increased so much."
Cervara also reflected positively on his charge's performance throughout the tournament, and expressed hope that his win over Djokovic would help him "be at another level" going forward.
"To beat Novak, first of all, in a Grand Slam, it's a big thing," Cervara said. "Then [to do it] in a final, it's another big thing. I guess and I wish that it will make him be at another level."