Daniil Medvedev used ‘angry’ Roger Federer tactics to beat Djokovic

Daniil Medvedev was channelling Roger Federer when he became the first man to beat Novak Djokovic this season. The world No 1 hadn’t lost a match since November but was dispatched 6-4 6-4 in the semi-final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Medvedev extended his own winning streak to 13 matches, and it seems the Russian was taking tips from one of Djokovic’s old rivals.

Medvedev earned his fifth career win over Djokovic on Friday as he needed just 95 minutes to send the top seed packing from Dubai. It marked the 27-year-old’s first victory over the Serb since the 2021 US Open final, where Medvedev lifted his first – and so far only – Grand Slam title.

And it appears the world No 7 was using someone else’s tactics during the match, as he admitted beforehand that he wanted to start approaching his battles like he was Federer. “When I was younger, I think I was more kind of, yeah, let’s have some fun,” Medvedev told Eurosport ahead of his clash with Djokovic.

“But since I started taking tennis more seriously, now during the match I just want to win, I want to stay focused.” And the former world No 1 was using the retired Swiss star as his motivation to balance his fun and serious sides, claiming that Federer used to appear “angry” during matches despite being relaxed in the locker room – something that paid off against Djokovic.

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He continued: “I learned it a little bit from Roger [Federer] in a way, because he’s so chill in the locker room, so funny, smiling, and then you play a match against him, you hit kind of a great shot, and it’s Roger, you saw him on TV, he’s your idol, and you kind of try to smile at him or something, and you see, it seems like he’s angry at you. I remember when playing him. And that’s actually how you should be and that’s how I try to be in the matches.”

Medvedev’s newfound Federer-like attitude comes after he dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since his debut in the elite rankings group in 2019. The 27-year-old crashed out to Sebastian Korda in the third round of the Australian Open after reaching the final in 2022, causing him to drop out of the top 10.

But he returned just weeks later after winning the Rotterdam Open title and followed it up by lifting the trophy in Doha, and is now going for his third title in three weeks. Addressing his brief exit from the top 10, Medvedev said: “I would say I was kind of disappointed with myself, and that’s not an easy feeling. It’s a tough feeling.

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“And why I was like this? Because I see other young guys like me that stay in the top 10 consistently and perform consistently, which I was doing for a long time; didn’t manage to do it last year, deservedly went out of the top 10, and I was feeling like, okay, how can I change it?”

Trying to explain his quick turnaround, the current world No 7 added: “I didn’t do anything special for it but I’m happy I managed to change the momentum, [be] back into the top 10, and not have that many points to defend. I’m just happy to be back in this consistent top rhythm, which I’m going to try to hold on to as much as possible.”

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