Let Daniil Medvedev could not win his first “Grand Slam”, losing in three sets to Serb Novak Djokovic in the final, but the Russian still received good dividends from participation in the Australian Open.
In monetary terms, these are prize money of one million dollars. Career – a unbeaten run of 20 matches in a row, including 12 victories over top-10 players, as well as the title of the third racket of the world. Daniil Medvedev became the 19th tennis player to enter the top 3 of the ATP world rankings since 2005, and only the fourth Russian who succeeded: after Evgeny Kafelnikov, Marat Safin and Nikolai Davydenko.
3 Russians reached the Australian Open finals. Before Daniil Medvedev, it was Evgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin, who won the “Helmet” in 1999 and 2005, respectively
The results of the Australian Open especially for “RG” were summed up by Evgeny Kafelnikov, our most titled tennis player: ex-first racket of the world, champion of the Australian Open and “Roland Garros”, winner of the 2000 Olympic Games.
Evgeny, they expected from Medvedev, if not victory, then at least a more stubborn struggle with Djokovic. What can you say about the ending?
Evgeny Kafelnikov: Everyone was thinking about Daniel’s victory. But I, by the way, was not one of those who made such predictions. I understood the level of Medvedev’s opponent. That is why I was not such an optimist. There were preconditions that the match could be difficult, especially in the first set. However, having won the first game, Djokovic began to develop his advantage even more rigidly. And we saw the score 7: 5, 6: 2, 6: 2. That is, the complete dominance of Djokovic.
Daniil Medvedev admitted that Djokovic broke him both in terms of tennis and psychologically. Photo: EPA
Are we now talking in principle about a higher class of Novak, or was it just not Daniel’s day?
Evgeny Kafelnikov: In such matches, of course, the fate of the champion is decided by several rallies throughout the match. They were in the first set. If everything were different, the devil only knows how it would have ended. On the other hand, this is what distinguishes the greatest athletes from those who have risen to a very good level. So far, the difference is felt between Novak and Daniel. A Serb can focus on 150 percent and achieve the desired result. Unfortunately, Medvedev still cannot act like that in games against the greatest tennis players.
So, while the Big Three – Djokovic, Nadal and Federer – are in the ranks, we will not see our champion?
Evgeny Kafelnikov: It will be difficult, but the prerequisites, as I said, are there. You understand that leaders do not get younger. Roger will be 40, Rafa 35, Novak 34. Their physical resources are becoming more limited. Therefore, the young have a certain kind of advantage. You need to use it when given the opportunity. But experience is still lacking.
And yet this “major” can be credited to the Russians?
Evgeny Kafelnikov: Nobody questions the achievements that we have achieved at the Australian Open. Andrei Rublev reached the quarterfinals, losing to Medvedev. Aslan Karatsev made it to the semifinals. Medvedev played in the final. Of course, we did not expect such a success. For this, professionals and fans love our sport. We are grateful to the guys for that.
Karatsev is called the main opening of the tournament. Do you agree?
Evgeny Kafelnikov: Absolutely. He is the main sensation of the Australian Open. We are happy for him. At the age of 27, to do this, to get into the world elite. He has already entered the top 50, and this is not all his potential, there is room for growth.
Shamil Tarpishchev said that Aslan deserved a trip to the Olympics. We’ve got a great team. Can the fight for medals be compared to the fight for Helmets?
Evgeny Kafelnikov: The Olympic tournament cannot be compared to anything. You have to be objective: the Games are held every four years, and the Grand Slam games are held four every year. Even just participation in the Olympics is worth a lot. Not to mention the fact that you can potentially win a medal of any value. “Gold” is a dream. But each award is prestige and moral satisfaction.