Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in dominant fashion on Sunday to clinch his ninth Australian Open title. Djokovic is not showing any signs of slowing down, and many are questioning when the younger players of the tour - including Medvedev - will break through.
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Novak Djokovic himself made a reference to the Next Gen's long wait. After thanking the Melbourne crowd for their support, the Serb jokingly asked Daniil Mevedev if he minded waiting "a few more years" for his Grand Slam breakthrough.
It took Novak Djokovic only 1 hour and 58 minutes to dispatch the Russian, as he prevailed by the score of 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. But in his trophy-acceptance speech, Djokovic showered lavish praise on Medvedev for being a great personality both on and off the court, and assured him that he would win a Slam one day.
"I really like Daniil as a person, he's great," Djokovic said. "Off the court, he's very friendly, very outgoing. But on the court he's one of the toughest players that I ever faced in my life. It's a matter of time when you're gonna hold a Grand Slam, it's for sure, if you don't mind waiting a few more years."
"We used to practice together, you're not calling me anymore" - Novak Djokovic jokes with Daniil Medvedev
While the Next Gen have steadily climbed up the rankings, Novak Djokovic and his 'Big 3' peers have constantly fended off their charge at the Majors. On Sunday, the Serb returned with pinpoint precision as he refused to give any free points to Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic knows Medvedev's game very well, which is probably what helped him read the Russian's serve with such ease. The two players used to practice with each other at the Monte Carlo Country Club in Monaco, and Djokovic joked about how they don't do that anymore now that Medvedev is a top player.
"We used to spend more time together," Djokovic said. "We used to practice together in Monaco. You're not calling me anymore last few years. But it's nice to see you're thinking nice things about me, thank you so much."
The Serbian champion then exhorted the crowd to applaud Medvedev's accomplishment of going unbeaten in 20 matches before the final, 12 of which came against top 10 players.
"I would like everyone, just to once more appreciate what he has done on his 20-match winning streak in the last couple of months," Djokovic said in praise of Medvedev.
With his 18th Major title, Novak Djokovic trails Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's record tally by just two Slams. The Serb soaked in all the applause after his historic feat at Rod Laver Arena, and again thanked the crowd for their support.
At the end of his speech, Novak Djokovic also expressed hope that his "love affair" with Melbourne kept continuing.