Novak Djokovic gives Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas highest possible praise

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Novak Djokovic will be an avid watcher of today’s Australian Open semi-final – knowing he will face the victor at his much-loved Rod Laver Arena on Sunday. The Serbian booked his spot in a ninth final in Melbourne by beating Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev on Thursday.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion goes in search of his ninth Australian Open title and boasts an 100 per cent record in the tournament whenever he gets past the quarter-finals.

The opponent of two-time defending champion Djokovic will meanwhile be in the final of this particular Slam for the first time ever.

Stefanos Tsitsipas has never played in the showpiece match of a major while Daniil Medvedev lost in the 2019 US Open final to Rafael Nadal.

World No 4 Medvedev comes into this defending a 19-match winning streak on the ATP Tour having won the ATP Finals back in December, the same event Tsitsipas triumphed at 12 months prior.

The Greek, ranked sixth in the world, has a 5-1 losing record against the Russian but won their last meeting which came at the year-ending tournament at the O2 in 2019.

And ahead of the semi-final meeting between Tsitsipas and Medvedev, world No 1 Djokovic has given the pair the highest possible praise.

Discussing tennis’ next generation with Mats Wilander on Eurosport, Djokovic tipped the pair – as well as Alexander Zverev – to go on and become the best players in the world in the post-Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer era.

Wilander asked Djokovic in the Eurosport Cube: “Novak, in my time we had Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier pushing from behind and I said, ‘Okay that’s it, I’m done. I can’t play with these guys.’

“You guys, you, Roger and Rafa have kind of [seen off] the generation just behind you, [Kei] Nishikori, [Marin] Cilic, no problem.

“These guys, Medvedev, Zverev, Tsitsipas, they’re bigger than you, taller than you, might be even stronger than you. Tennis-wise you’re better but physically, are you feeling the pressure from them?”


Djokovic, after insisting that such pressure is a positive, declared: “There’s been a lot of talk about, the new generation’s coming and taking over the three of us but realistically that isn’t happening still.

“We can talk about it all day if you want but with all my respect about the other guys, they still have a lot of work to do.

“These guys are very strong, have played high quality tennis without a doubt. Certainly they will be the leaders of the future of tennis, without a doubt.

“But I’m not just going to hand it over to them. I’m going to make them work their a** off for that.”

Neither Tsitsipas, Medvedev or Zverev have won a Slam yet, the latter – like Medvedev – losing in the final of the US Open.

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But they have displayed their threat in other tournaments and it is no surprise that Djokovic recognises their potential.

Medvedev, 25, has nine career titles including the ATP Finals, the Cincinnati Masters, Shanghai Masters and Paris Masters.

On top of that, he boasts three career victories over Djokovic as well as a sole victory over Nadal in the 2020 Finals.

Tsitsipas, 22, is a five-time titlist although four of his triumphs have come at a lesser ATP 250 level, though he boasts two wins against each of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.

And Zverev, himself only 23, boasts 13 titles including Masters 1000 titles at the Italian Open, Canadian Open and Madrid Open, added to an ATP Finals success back in 2018.

He beat Federer in the final in Canada and Djokovic in the final in Italy, getting the better of world No 3 Thiem in Madrid.

The German has also beaten both Djokovic (2018) and Nadal (2019) at the ATP Finals – though he lost to the former in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Djokovic remains dominant in his chase of Nadal and Federer on 20 Slams but the winner of Medvedev vs Tsitsipas will be looking to prove the Serbian’s assessment of their abilities correct this weekend. We’re in for a treat.

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