Misc Tennis

“I have to be the best-ever version of myself”

Tennis Express

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday September 8, 2023

Daniil Medvedev knows what it takes to win the US Open – he did that in 2021, winning his first major title. And, he knows what it takes to defeat Novak Djokovic, the man with 23 majors and 389 weeks at No.1 – Medvedev had five victories over Djokovic, including his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Djokovic in said 2021 US Open final.

But the Russian knows that the challenge of facing Djokovic only gets more difficult. “He is always better than previous time he plays,” Medvedev said on Friday, after taking out World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz to reach his fifth major final. “For example, I beat him US Open final; he beat me in Bercy in a great match. Carlos beat him at 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.”

Whether he wins on Sunday or not, Medvedev can take confidence from his win over Alcaraz. He was the heavy underdog against the Spaniard after dropping all five sets he played against him this season. But he played sparkling tennis from start to finish, read and reacted to the World No.1’s game like a seer, and attacked with authority as he notched his 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 triumph.

“I guess for the confidence and self-esteem, it’s very important,” he said. “At the same time that is the thing about tennis, 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.

“So yeah, it was a great win, it’s great for the confidence. You know, 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.”

Medvedev has split his two meetings with Djokovic in 2023, but Djokovic has won four out of five since he lost to the Russian in the US Open final in 2021.

The 36-year-old legend is bidding to earn his record 24th major and his fourth US Open title.

27-year-old Medvedev bids for his second major title.

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