Novak Djokovic for the ninth time or Daniil Medvedev for the first time? That is the question before the eagerly awaited men’s final at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Despite Djokovic’s legendary status, quite a few rely on the 25-year-old Russian in his “living room” Melbourne. Medvedev has had a run of 20 wins since Paris-Bercy last fall, including 12-0 successes over top ten players, including Djokovic at the ATP Finals.
At the US Open it was still reserved for Dominic Thiem to be the first player of the younger generation to break the phalanx of the “big three” in Grand Slam tournaments. Now the time seems ripe for the next part of a creeping changing of the guard. In any case, Medvedev is rightly bursting with self-confidence. “As you can see, if I play well, I can beat some big names,” said Medvedev. “Of course it’s great for confidence when you beat everyone because I think people might start to feel a little bit in front of you to fear.”
Opposite him is a power in Melbourne: Djokovic has been in the Melbourne finals eight times, and has won eight times. If he manages all nines in Melbourne, then he has brought half of all his majors (it would be 18) “down under”.
The world number one spoke appreciatively about the Russian’s winning streak, but also said at Eurosport: “There’s a lot of talk about the new generation that is supposed to take over from us. But realistically, that hasn’t happened yet You guys have a lot of work to do. “
Conversely, Medvedev also knows, like a Naomi Osaka in relation to Serena Williams, that the records of Roger Federer, Nadal (20 titles each) and Djokovic (17) are out of reach anyway. But chasing records is also a burden. “I’m not under a lot of pressure because he didn’t lose eight times here in the final. It is he who has all the pressure, also because he wants Roger and Rafa and the Grand Slam record,” Medvedev tries to reduce expectations.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who ultimately had no chance in the semi-finals on Friday against the “bear” Medvedev, would not be surprised if the Russian won. “I’m not a betting website. Medvedev could win too, it would be good for him and good for tennis.” In any case, changing the names in the winners’ lists would not be a mistake, according to the Greek.
Medvedev, 25, is the youngest finalist since Djokovic, who was a year younger when he won his third title in Melbourne in 2012. No matter how the endgame ends, it’s a worthy endgame for the two currently strongest players. Even before the final, Djokovic is certain that he will have another important record in around two weeks: Roger Federer’s record of a total of 310 weeks at the top of the world rankings will fall.
Money does not play a role for Djokovic, for Medvedev only a subordinate role: The winner receives around 1.77 million euros, the finalist around 966,000 euros. The 81-time title holder Djokovic already holds just under 147 million dollars in prize money alone, Medvedev surpasses the 15 million mark with Melbourne.