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When Novak Djokovic is in the zone he doesn't miss, I'm not bad at that also: Daniil Medvedev

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev
Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 20 Feb 2021
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Daniil Medvedev believes his game is solid enough to match up well with Novak Djokovic's. The Russian also claimed he has enough experience playing against the Big 3 - Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - and that he won't give his head-to-head record too much importance ahead of the Australian Open final.

Medvedev is through to his second career Grand Slam final after a straight-sets win over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday. The Russian will take on 17-time Major champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday as he aims to capture his first Major title.

The Russian is 3-4 lifetime against Novak Djokovic, but has won three of their last four matches. Daniil Medvedev is currently on a 20-match winning streak, but he asserted in his post-match press conference that he will need to play his best to overcome the Serb.

"When Novak Djokovic is in the zone, he doesn't miss, that (is) the point with him," Daniil Medvedev said. "I'm not bad at this also. We played unbelievable matches. I know what I have to do. He'll not give anything, I'll have to be at my best."
"I think the head-to-head doesn't matter that much," he added. "I lost against him in tight matches and I didn't have my current level. When you play the Big 3 for the first time, it's tough. 7 times, it gives experience."

"I thought he would lose to Talyor Fritz, when I went to sleep" - Daniil Medvedev on Novak Djokovic's 3rd round match

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Daniil Medvedev revealed that he has been observing Novak Djokovic's progress throughout the fortnight. The Russian himself has had a relatively smooth ride into the final of the Australian Open, winning five of his matches in straight sets and being stretched to five sets once - in the third round by Djokovic's compatriot Filip Krajinovic.

On the other hand, Djokovic needed four sets to overcome each of Frances Tiafoe, Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev, and was taken to five sets by Taylor Fritz in the third round.

That match against Fritz turned to be a pivotal moment for Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Australian Open. The Serb injured his oblique muscle in the third set of the encounter, and appeared to be in serious physical trouble before bouncing back to win in five sets.

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Daniil Medvedev admitted that he went off to sleep after the injury struck, thinking Novak Djokovic would lose the match. But the Serb bounced back to win and has since improved his level considerably, culminating in what he called 'his best level' to overcome Aslan Karatsev in the semifinals.

"I saw a lot of Novak's matches," Daniil Medvedev said. "I thought he would lose against (Taylor) Fritz, when I went to sleep. There were some crazy matches there, like against Alexander Zverev. He was on top against Aslan Karatsev."

The 25-year-old went on to add that he is not expecting any free rides from Djokovic in the final, and that he knows it will be a tough match against 'one of the greatest players in history'.

"I'm not expecting something easy on the physical aspect," Daniil Medvedev said. "It's a Grand Slam final, he knows better what it is. You throw everything out there, you have to make the good decision on each shot."
"I'm the challenger of the final against the man who won 8 Australian Opens in 8 semis and finals," he added. "He's one of the greatest players in history. We'll both feel pressure of course. But if we talk in general, nothing to lose for me."
Published 20 Feb 2021, 00:42 IST
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