EXCLUSIVE: US Open Winner Medvedev Talks About Beating Djokovic, Being Congratulated by Putin
00:19 GMT 14.09.2021 (Updated: 13:24 GMT 06.08.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev shared with Sputnik after winning the 2021 US Open that he feels it is possible to become the world's number one tennis player.
On Sunday, Medvedev beat Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in straight sets, becoming the winner of the 2021 US Open men’s final.
12 September 2021, 22:39 GMT
Medvedev outplayed the Serbian world number one 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the Flushing Meadows tournament, denying Djokovic a record-breaking 21st major men’s singles title that would have seen him clinch the first calendar-year Grand Slam in decades.
The Sunday win proved to be the first Grand Slam victory for 25-year-old Medvedev, who lost to Djokovic in February of this year at the Australian Open final. The Russian tennis player appeared in his third Grand Slam final on Sunday.
Djokovic was trying to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam with the goal of winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open this year, a feat which has not been accomplished since Australia’s Rod Laver in 1969.
In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, the Russian champ talked about winning his first Grand Slam against top-seeded player Novak Djokovic.
'Possible' to Become World's Number One Tennis Player
"This is possible," he said when asked if it was possible to become number one in the world. "I must keep working and try to achieve it in the next year or when the opportunity arises."
When asked what is his biggest fear regarding tennis, Medvedev said, "probably it is already gone."
"Many things that I dreamed of have come true," he said. "Therefore, if this can be called fear, but to be honest it is not fear, it is that at some point I will probably stop driving myself forward. This is the most dangerous thing. But it’s not fear. I'm confident in myself. I know what I want, so I'm sure I won't stop.
He said he is not talking about the results, because the results can be different.
"You can sometimes lose in the first round, sometimes win a tournament, the main thing is to try your best and try to work on yourself," he said.
Djokovic Presents 'New Challenge' in Every Match
Having played the top-seeded Serbian on several occasions, Medvedev admitted that every match he plays against Djokovic proves to deliver a "new challenge."
"Every match with [Djokovic] is like a new challenge," Medvedev said when asked if he now knows how to beat him after this latest victory. "Every match with him was really different. Therefore, when it comes to tactics I may have found a little something, but he is such a great champion that he will mix it up in the next match, so we’ll see."
Medvedev said although he has beaten Djokovic before, the Serbian tennis star is even tougher in these types of tournaments.
"It is at the Grand Slam tournaments that he is hardest to win over," Medvedev said.
Medvedev noted that Djokovic congratulated him after the game before going on to state that he has never witnessed the Serbian tennis star treat opponents disrespectfully.
"He always congratulates and really wishes the best," Medvedev said. "He is a great champion and a very honest and kind person."
Putin's Congratulations on US Open Win 'Adds Happiness to Victory'
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Medvedev on his victory at the US Open, noting his high class and perseverance in achieving the goal. Putin wished Medvedev health, good luck and continued success in life as well as in sport.
"Of course, it was, on one hand, unexpected," Medvedev said. "Yes, you understand that you won the Grand Slam title, it's a serious matter. You are overwhelmed with joy anyway, but the fact that the president congratulated me, it just adds more happiness to victory. Of course, it is very important. And the right people sent the telegram right away, so I probably saw it before anyone else," Medvedev said, noting that he received the telegram from Putin this morning. "I am very pleased that the president and the government, in general, follow the results of the athletes. And I am very glad that it did not go unnoticed, so it was really pleasant."
'I Feel the Joy of Victory'
Reflecting the nearly two-hour match, Medvedev went on to reveal that while he has been thrilled about his accomplishment, he has yet to fully absorb the win in its entirety.
"I basically feel joyful, relieved," Medvedev said. "I feel the joy of victory and relief that one of the things that I have dreamed of since childhood has come true. I lost before in two finals. Tennis is such a sport that you never know if there is still a chance, if you can still achieve it. It [win] is not simple. It raises you to a new level, this is how it is considered in tennis, therefore it is joy and relief."
When asked whether the reality of the situation has sunk in, Medvedev said, "On the one hand, yes, on the other hand, no."
"Because so far I have not even had much time to be alone a little to completely absorb it," Medvedev said. "That is, I get many messages, many different interviews, have some commitments. Therefore, I am torn a little now, but in the following days - since there are no important tournaments right now, right next week - I can fully enjoy this victory."
'Cool' to Have Won US Open in Front of Stars
Touching on the many celebrities who watched from the stands, Medvedev detailed that he felt it was "cool" to have been given the chance to play and then win the grand slam in front of the eagle-eyed spectators.
"First of all, it was cool to see so many stars," Medvedev said. "It isn’t even important who they were rooting for, it’s cool. What’s more is that they witnessed your victory."
The Russian player went on to admit that neutral fans watching on from the sidelines likely favored Djokovic to win the tournament to watch history be made, adding that while he understood their stance, he was still happy to have clinched the win.
Celebratory Fall An 'Isolated' Incident
Just as Medvedev realized he'd bested Djokovic, he made an unexpected move and celebrated the win by imitating a FIFA" dead fish" celebration. However, don't expect him to be repeating the act anytime soon, folks.
Medvedev has explained that his quick celebration was just an "isolated" incident, and would not become a signature move of his.
"It's 100 percent, no," he said when asked if the fall would become his signature move. "Because it hurts to fall like that, especially on a hard court. Therefore this is an isolated case."
The player had earlier explained that he'd considered embodying the move after the Wimbledon tournament