Novak Djokovic after winning the 2021 Australian Open, Melbourne
Novak Djokovic after winning the 2021 Australian Open, Melbourne | (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennis | Australian Open 2021 | Djokovic dominates Medvedev: Big Three ‘still there for a reason’

  • Novak Djokovic [1] def. Daniil Medvedev [4] 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
  • Wins a record ninth Australian Open title, and an 18th Slam overall.
MELBOURNE, AUSRTRALIA – Novak Djokovic inched closer to catching up Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after he dominated Daniil Medvedev to win an 18th major title and ninth Australian Open.


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Recap: Novak Djokovic [1] def. Daniil Medvedev [4] 7-5, 6-2, 6-2

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For a match that heralded the hopes of a corking final, it failed to deliver on that aspect, as Novak Djokovic shut down any attempts by Daniil Medvedev to gain any kind of rhythm and thus any kind of foothold in the game.

At the start Djokovic roared out to a 3-0 lead, and for a fraction of a moment, the match seemed on  as Medvedev would win the next three matches in a row. The play was competitive until a loose game from Medvedev as Djokovic clicked through the gears to break for the first set.

Medvedev rallied with an immediate break in the second set, but very quickly from that point it turned to one way traffic, as he was broken twice in a row and for the second set a third time.

Once Djokovic jumped out once more to a 3-0 lead in the third set, the fighting spirit we saw in the US Open against Rafael Nadal in 2019 gave way to impatience and frustration, as his resistance washed away for a straight sets loss in his second Slam.


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Djokovic: ‘Roger, Rafa, myself are still there for a reason’

We will never know what might have been at the US Open had Djokovic’s mis-fired ball had not struck a lines-judge, and he admitted that at Roland Garros just a few weeks later, it was still having an effect.

He said after the match: “I won Cincinnati tournament in New York, then had that disqualification at the US Open that obviously did affect me mentally, emotionally, to go out from the tournament like that when I was actually on a run.

“It did affect me through the rest of the season. I was kind of up and down with my performances. Managed to clinch the No. 1 at the end of the season, which was the goal. Just playing without crowd on the stands, it felt a little bit strange and maybe just a little bit lack of motivation.”

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Medvedev was effectively blocked from showing his best tennis, and coming off a 20-match winning streak, it was just unfortunate that his off-day came in a Slam final.

He said, after the match: “I would say US Open hurt more because I had more chances finally to win it than I had today. But both losses hurt. The only thing that keeps me warm is that, you know, I always try to do my best on the court.

“Today my best, I was not happy with myself during the match. I felt like I’m doing my best, but it’s not there. It happens. This is also life. Of course, you cannot be 365 days in a year at your best, but if I try to do my best, that’s why I became more professional a few years ago, working more physically, mentally on the court, out of the court, trying to eat good during tournaments and stuff like this.

“That’s where I will have no regrets when I finish my career no matter what I achieve. That’s I find the most important after such defeats.”

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Medvedev has put himself in the frame to be one of the new chasing pack, having reached two finals already. It took Dominic Thiem four attempts to win his first Slam, in this continuing era of the Big Three. But any complacency on the minds of this new chasing pack, and especially after this beat-down performance will give them a little pause, before they try their collective onslaught again when the season gears up on the clay.

Djokovic concluded: “There is a lot of quality in tennis from the younger guys that are coming up. I was mentioning before they’re very close to start winning major titles more consistently.

“But Roger, Rafa, myself are still there for a reason. We don’t want to hand it to them and we don’t want to allow them to win slams. I think that’s something that is very clear. Whether you communicate that message or not, we are definitely sending that vibe out there. I’m sticking to that.”


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