Amidst a noisy crowd who were strongly rooting for his opponent throughout the match in the US Open finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium last Sunday, world number two Daniil Medvedev battled past Novak Djokovic in a tricky championship match to win his first-ever major title.
Sep 12, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia (L) talks with Daniil Medvedev of Russia (R) during the trophy presentation after their match in the men’s singles final on day fourteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
When one takes a look at the consistency of the Next-Gen players on hard courts, Medvedev’s name strikes first. From 2019, the Russian won 8 tour-level titles on hard courts, with the ninth one being the US Open crown.
Daniil Medvedev stunned Novak Djokovic to win maiden US Open title
Before the final, the odds were against Medvedev considering his latest defeat to the Serb in the finals of the Australian Open. Djokovic was all over the Russian in that match and the latter looked unsettled throughout.
Well, on Sunday, the tables were turned as Medvedev completed his service games with lightening speed and put pressure on the Serbian’s serve all the time. The fact that Djokovic entered the final with the huge burden creating history made him struggle at precious moments and gave away the match to Medvedev.
Sep 10, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Daniil Medvedev of Russia hits a backhand against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada (not pictured) on day twelve of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the first major title was achieved (by defeating a Big-3 player), Daniil Medvedev might want to pounce on this success and the end the season on a high note. The next goal for the Russian is to overcome Djokovic as the number one ranked player.
Medvedev says it’s impossible for him to overtake Djokovic as World No.1
Talking about the same after his US Open final victory, the Russian didn’t sound optimistic about clinching the number one spot by the end of World Tour Finals.
“I have Paris and the Masters (ATP Finals) to defend. Novak, I don’t think he has much to defend. I honestly think it’s almost impossible”, said the Russian.
Practically speaking, it does look difficult for Daniil Medvedev to go after Djokovic’s number one ranking at the moment. For him to be on top of the pile, Medvedev has to take away a minimum of 3000 points from the Serb.
Sep 10, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts after winning a point against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada (not pictured) on day twelve of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
For the remainder of the ATP tour, there are a couple of Masters events(Indian Wells and Paris) left. Also, the year-end championships (World Tour Finals) is all set to be inaugurated in Turin. Medvedev needs to go big in all these three events to have any realistic chance of becoming world number one.
Coming to Djokovic, he sounded ambiguous when asked about the tournaments he would be playing next for the remainder of the season. The world number one might opt to play World Tour Finals straight away.
While the absence of Djokovic might boost Medvedev’s chances, there will still be stiff competition from other players like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and other players in the draw as they would want to grab some points to close out the season on a high note.