Daniil Medvedev will face off against Novak Djokovic in a repeat of the 2021 US Open final clash which the Russian won. After playing “better than himself” to beat current world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals on Friday evening, the 27-year-old says he will have to play 10 times better than he did in that final if he wishes to add a second Grand Slam to his resume.
Playing under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Medvedev played some of his best tennis in recent months to beat the 20-year-old Alcaraz 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 “All four sets I played great, but especially — you know, third set I played, let’s call it like this, I said I need to play 11 out of 10, all the three sets I won I managed to do it. In the third set I would say I was maybe 9 1/2, maybe 10 out of 10, and as we saw it was not enough against Carlos. I managed to play well, I managed to serve well, hit some lines in important moments, some great shots. Just really happy, but the tournament is not over,” the Russian said.
Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday, and I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head series between the two players 9-5 but the pair have split their two meetings in 2023 and the Russian is aware that the Serb always raises his level after losing to any player.
“He is always better than previous time he plays. For example, I beat him US Open final; he beat me in Bercy in a great match. Carlos beat him Wimbledon; he beat him in Cincinnati. Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday, and I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him.”
“When he (Djokovic) loses, he’s never the same after. He’s different. It’s just a different mentality. That’s why he has 23 Grand Slams, whatever, Masters 1000s, weeks at No. 1. I have to use it knowing that he’s going to be 10 times better than he was that day. And I have to be, if I want to still beat him, 10 times better than I was that day. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Medvedev is going to be highly motivated himself and admitted that he would be extremely disappointed if he did not win the title on Sunday.
“It’s great that I won this match, but if I lose on Sunday, the tournament, it’s like it’s a good tournament but I’m going to be hell disappointed. That’s how tennis is.
“I have hopefully long years of career ahead. And to know I’m capable of doing it on the big stage, every time you do it one more time, brings more confidence. You know you can do it again. You want to do it again. You want to feel this. And at the same time, what is the most important is to kind of use it but forget about it and go for the next one.”