Daniil Medvedev says he won’t be cheering on Novak Djokovic’s opponents in the US Open, with the pair on course for a possible meeting in the final of the year’s last Grand Slam.
The Russian progressed past Botic van de Zandschulp in New York on Tuesday to move within one game of the US Open final and a likely meeting with the world number one.
But Medvedev, who has now reached the last four in America for three straight years, says he is not thinking about a possible meeting with the Serbian just yet.
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“I don’t think about him, because as we saw, anybody can beat anybody,” Medvedev said after his four-set win over Van de Zandschulp.
“If he’s in the final, and if I’m there, I’m happy. He’s also happy, I guess “I’m not going to root or cheer for somebody. I’m just going to enjoy the tennis and then prepare for the winner. It’s the same every match.”
The 2021 tournament is the first time that both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been absent in New York, opening up the tournament to a new set of faces in the men’s draw, including Medvedev’s last-four opponent Felix Auger-Aliassime.
But, while the 25-year-old admits that the absence of the two legends makes it slightly easier to reach the latter stages of the tournament, he says that there is no different feeling around the dressing room.
“I don’t feel the change of the energy, talking for myself,” he said. “I don’t care if Roger or Rafa are here. I want to win the tournament.
“It’s going to be tougher if they were here, and of course it would be tougher if they would be 30 years old.
“But I just want to do my best, so I don’t care if they are here or not.”
Daniil Medvedev of Russia
Image credit: Getty Images
Medvedev’s opponent in the last four will be featuring in his first ever Grand Slam semi-final.
But the Russian says that will not make Auger-Aliassime any less of a threat, pointing to his own win in his first last-four match at a major – in New York in 2019.
“Experience is not everything, because when I was in my first semis of a Slam, I won it,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean if you’re there for the first time you’re going to lose it.”
Medvedev’s hard-court performances over the past few years make him the most likely player to end Djokovic’s calendar Grand Slam bid in the eyes of many pundits.
The Russian has won 26 career matches on the hard courts of the US and Australian Opens, reaching the final in Melbourne earlier this year.
And last year’s impressive run at the behind-closed-doors US Open also saw Medvedev “learn a lesson”, in his own words, with defeat to Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals.
“I was kind of not ready for this match,” Medvedev revealed.
When I say ‘not ready’, of course I prepared well. It’s just that he played a really great level and I couldn’t find a solution, which I took a lesson from.
“Even if it was super tough, there was a lesson. There’s no Dominic here, no Rafa, so I’m just going to try to play my best and see which other lessons I can take.”
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Source: Euro Sports