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"When Novak Djokovic says he's not gonna hand anything to somebody, I believe him" - Daniil Medvedev

Novak Djokovic will play Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 Australian Open final
Novak Djokovic will play Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 Australian Open final
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2021
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Novak Djokovic recently raised eyebrows when he spoke a little unflatteringly about the younger stars and their chances of taking over the game. And now Daniil Medvedev - who will face Djokovic in Sunday’s Australian Open final - has responded to the Serb’s claims, saying that he didn't take his comments in the 'negative' sense.

After beating Aslan Karatsev in the semis on Thursday, Novak Djokovic was asked if he sensed a Next Gen takeover in 2021. The Serb answered in the negative, bluntly declaring that that "is not realistically happening" right now.

Djokovic also made it clear in the same conversation that he would try his best to delay the Next Gen takeover, by "making them work their ass off".

When probed about the issue in his post-match press conference on Friday, Daniil Medvedev seemed to take the Serb’s views in his stride. The Russian, in fact, reinforced Djokovic’s claims by stressing how difficult it was to beat the World No. 1.

"When Novak says he’s not gonna hand anything to somebody, I believe him," Medvedev said. "I’m not gonna say I don’t trust him; I trust him. So I know that to beat him you need to just show your best tennis, be at your best physically maybe four or five hours, and be at your best mentally maybe for five hours. Never know how the match is going to go."

For Daniil Medvedev, playing a Slam final against a champion like Novak Djokovic is in itself a huge source of motivation. The Russian showered lavish praise on the Serb ahead of the blockbuster match, and stated that he appreciated Djokovic as a player as well as a person.

"I would say to win a Slam especially against somebody as Novak, is already a big motivation and I don’t think there is anything that can make it bigger," Daniil Medvedev continued. "I like Novak, I appreciate him as a tennis player and I should say as a person. So I don’t take these words for sure as something negative. As I say, I’m quite motivated without those words."

Daniil Medvedev will be Novak Djokovic’s fifth different opponent in the final of the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic with his 2020 Australian Open title
Novak Djokovic with his 2020 Australian Open title

Novak Djokovic’s record at the Australian Open is one of the most enviable in all of tennis. The Serb has eight titles to his name in Melbourne, but perhaps even more impressively, boasts of a 100% record in the semis and finals.

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Novak Djokovic has never faced defeat in the eight finals and nine semifinals he has played till date. Daniil Medvedev will be Djokovic’s fifth different opponent in the finals, after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2008), Andy Murray (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016), Rafael Nadal (2012, 2019) and Dominic Thiem (2020).

Needless to say, Daniil Medvedev will make history if he manages to beat Novak Djokovic on Sunday. A win for the Russian would also be a big sign that the Next Gen is taking over, thus contradicting what Djokovic said two days ago.

Published 19 Feb 2021, 21:42 IST
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