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How One Point Changed The Face Of The Medvedev-Thiem Final

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

Dominic Thiem had a chance to move to the doorstep of the Nitto ATP Finals title on Sunday evening.

With Thiem already leading by a set, it was 3-3, 30/40 in the second set, when Medvedev was forced to hit a second serve. The Russian made a daring play by serving and volleying. Thiem, who moved off the court to run around his backhand, struck a heavy topspin forehand return down the line that Medvedev barely scraped over the net. With the entire Ad court open, the Austrian rushed forward toward a seemingly routine putaway, but he shoveled a forehand well wide.

“Of course maybe the match… would have had a different outcome if I converted that break point,” Thiem said. “But still, it was not an easy shot. I mean, he played serve and volley. Hit a pretty good short volley. I was in full sprint and had the ball under the net, so it was not that easy, that shot. Of course I should put it in the court, but still I have not so much to regret.”

The question is, what went wrong? 

When Thiem struck his forehand return, he had Medvedev in big trouble. The Russian did not guess a side, and he even split-stepped a moment too late, forcing him to lunge for his forehand volley, which looped high over the net and landed about midway into Thiem’s service box. Getting it back into play short in the court was a great effort in itself, and likely the best he could have hoped for in the situation.

After Thiem hit his return, he immediately started sprinting to cover the open court. By running around his backhand to hit a forehand, he was well out of position. But the moment in which he rushed to the open court — which was the right thing to do — likely prevented him from getting to the volley in time to hit the ball with topspin. What were the 27-year-old’s options?

Option 1 – Shovel Into The Open Court
Thiem took the most likely path by going into the open court. But as he ran forward, he didn’t change to a continental grip. It appeared that he thought he would get to the ball in time to hit a topspin forehand, as evidenced by his left hand momentarily coming up to his racquet, which is one of the early steps of a topspin forehand stroke production.

Since Thiem didn’t change to a continental grip, the shot became awkward. Using a forehand grip to hit a shovel shot is less natural, and players need to manipulate their wrist more to open the racquet face, which likely led to his miss.

Option 2 – Shovel At Medvedev
As Thiem rushed forward to retrieve the Russian’s volley, Medvedev was on the back foot. The fourth seed made contact with his forehand volley about halfway up the service box, but by the time Thiem got to the ball, Medvedev was already at the service line and moving backwards. Thiem wouldn’t have been able to get a lot of pace on the ball if he shoveled it at the Russian, but if he went that route and hit it into Medvedev’s body, the fourth seed would have struggled to get any pace of his own on the ball and he had no angle to work with. This potentially would have given Thiem a chance at a putaway volley.

Option 3 – Go Behind Medvedev
The open court was rightly tempting for Thiem. But going behind the Russian also would have proven effective. If Thiem hit the ball to Medvedev’s forehand side, he would have forced the Russian to hit his forehand volley down the line, because Thiem had the middle of the court and the cross-court play covered. This would have forced Medvedev to be extremely precise with his direction, as any miss closer to the middle of the court would have allowed Thiem to stretch for a backhand volley.

The eventual champion also was moving backwards, which would have made it difficult for him to hit his volley with much pace. There is also the possibility that Medvedev’s body weight would have been moving in the direction of the open court, which might have made it too difficult for him to react to being wrong-footed.

Option 4 – Touch Lob
This was the least likely of Thiem’s options, and also the most difficult shot for the Austrian. When sprinting forward, especially with a forehand grip, it is tough to control a touch lob. Medvedev was also moving backwards and already around the service line, which would have made it difficult to get the lob over his head. But if the Austrian were able to pull it off, the worst case scenario would have been Medvedev rushing back to hit a passing shot, putting Thiem in control of the point.

Regardless of the options, Thiem did not convert on his golden opportunity. On his other two break points in the set, he was unable to even touch the ball, as Medvedev hit curling aces down the T.

The Austrian did not earn a break point in the third set. This was his chance to seize the match and the trophy, and the consequences of missing proved costly.

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WhatsApp and Formula 1: Medvedev’s First 24 Hours As Nitto ATP Finals Champion

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

Over the past week at The O2 in London, Daniil Medvedev won each of his five matches and became the first player in Nitto ATP Finals history to beat the top three players in the FedEx ATP Rankings at the same edition of the tournament.

The Russian was rewarded with the biggest trophy of his career, 1,500 FedEx ATP Rankings points and $1,564,000 in prize money. As a result of his milestone victory, the World No. 4 was also flooded with messages on his phone and social media accounts. The win did come at a price for Medvedev, who revealed on Monday morning that he only managed to managed to get two hours of sleep.

“I didn’t sleep so much. There were a lot of things going on. I did reply to most of my messages, all of them on WhatsApp and most of them on other social media [platforms], which takes some time after a big win like this” said Medvedev. “I even managed to play a little bit of Formula 1 here in the hotel. It was a busy night. I celebrated with my coach after the match [and] did all the media things. I got a good two hours of sleep.”

With so many messages from family, friends and fans across the world. Medvedev spent a large portion of his time on Sunday night replying to the people closest to him. During his time at The O2, he was accompanied only by his coach, Gilles Cervara.

“[I replied to] my wife [and] my family first, my closest friends and my team. I just tried to give them a head’s up, something like a photo with the cup or something like this,” said Medvedev. “Then I took it step-by-step and just went up and down to say thank you to everybody for the nice messages they sent me yesterday.”

With just his coach by his side in London, Medvedev took a moment to reflect on his strong bond with Cervara. The Frenchman was voted by his peers as 2019 Coach Of The Year in the ATP Awards. Medvedev entered the Rolex Paris Masters earlier this month with just three wins from his past eight matches, seeking his first final appearance in 13 months, but through the good times and the bad times, Medvedev and Cervara continued to work towards their common goal: making Medvedev a better player each day.

“We are trying to improve all the time,” said Medvedev. “Like any relationship between coach and player, we can have our tough moments [and] our good moments. Sometimes I will not be playing good, I will not be happy with myself, he will not be happy with me or himself sometimes. Maybe he will think he is doing something wrong, I will think that I am doing something wrong. It is completely normal. It is a part of our sport. That is why people love sport. That is why we compete. We are trying to work every day to make me a better tennis player. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

During the ATP Tour suspension due to COVID-19, Medvedev and his wife spent two months sharing a house with Cervara, his wife and his dog so he could continue to practise on a private tennis court. So while sharing his life on the ATP Tour with just his coach in a bubble environment has been an adjustment, it has not been an entirely unfamiliar experience. In fact, the reduced size of his team has helped him to concentrate on his game.

“The more people [that are] around me, the more I can get disturbed,” said Medvedev. “My team knows it and my team respects it because they want me to play as good as I can. We try to do the best about this. Here we could see big teams for everybody. I was just with my coach. In the bubble, we try to stay together, we try to get some good laughs, try to practise good and finally we clinched the tournament together.”

One of the defining features of Medvedev’s game in London was his mental strength. The Russian was one game from defeat as Rafael Nadal served to eliminate the Moscow-native in the semi-finals and Medvedev trailed Thiem by a set in the championship match.

“Inside of me, there is a winner that maybe sometimes is a bit childish, but wants to win every match he plays,” said Medvedev. “That is why when I am not playing good, I can be angry [with] myself for this, because that is why I lose matches. That is also part of my success, why I am where I am, but I am working hard because I know that the more calm you are, the most focussed you are on the goal, the better it is for [my] tennis.”

Medvedev has certainly mastered the art of keeping calm after converting match points. The 24-year-old made the decision last year to adopt a unique signature celebration: the non-celebration. While some fans may not like the Russian’s lack of emotion in milestone moments, Medvedev took the time to explain the thought process behind his decision.

“Last year I just decided that it is going to be my trademark,” said Medvedev. “A lot of people like it, some [do] not, but that is how I feel… When there are huge crowds when you win a big title or big matches against big opponents and you don’t celebrate, you actually have the opportunity to look around you and feel all the energy that is going around. All of this energy is for you. If you win a match, all of the applause goes to you. As an artist, as a tennis player, you can feel it all if you think about it.”

If Medvedev wants to rise further in the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2021, he will need to find a way to sustain his current momentum across an entire season and find a way to win on days when he is not at his best level. It is a skill that Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer have mastered throughout their careers.

“After my victory here against Novak, I felt that he didn’t play his best tennis against me. But the thing is that even when he doesn’t play his best tennis, to beat him is so tough. I was happy about the win and that is why [the Big Three] are the best,” said Medvedev. “You can see some Grand Slam matches, even when they won the tournament, where they were not at their best but they were capable of clinching it in four sets… and then throughout the tournament they play better and better. They are the three best tennis players in the history of our sport.”

With seven Top 10 wins in his past 10 victories, there is no doubt that Medvedev can beat anyone on his day. The challenge will be making those days more frequent. With the support of his coach and the off-season in full swing, Medvedev will be fully focussed on making that goal a reality in 2021.

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Challenger First-Time Winner Spotlight: Brandon Nakashima

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

On Sunday, Brandon Nakashima had his moment in the spotlight. After a tumultuous and unprecedented 2020 season, it was the 19-year-old who seized the opportunity and concluded his campaign with a maiden ATP Challenger Tour crown.

Nakashima was the last man standing in Orlando, prevailing at the USTA National Campus. The California native did not drop a set all tournament, capping a dominant week at the Orlando Open with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

Nakashima is building his reputation around a steely resolve and unflappable determination. An elite problem solver on the court, nothing rattles the teenager, regardless of the score, situation and opponent. This was on full display on Sunday, as he saved all eight break points faced to cross the finish line. With Gunneswaran pressing to draw level deep in the second set, Nakashima emerged from a 0/40 deficit and did not look back.

At the age of 19 years and three months, Nakashima is the youngest American champion since Frances Tiafoe in 2017. In addition, his victory marks the sixth time that a teenager has lifted a trophy this year. He joins Tomas Machac, Lorenzo Musetti and three-time champion Carlos Alcaraz in the teen winners’ circle.

Nakashima soars 36 spots to a career-high No. 166 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He is one of two #NextGenATP Americans closing in on the Top 100, along with Sebastian Korda. Korda is also coming off a maiden Challenger triumph, prevailing two weeks ago in Eckental, Germany.

Nakashima spoke with broadcaster Mike Cation after taking the title in Orlando…

Brandon, you don’t show a lot of emotion, but you dropped your racquet and raised your arms after match point. It seems like this one means a lot to you to get that first Challenger title.
It definitely does. Playing all these Challengers the past couple years was all leading up to this moment, to win my first title. I couldn’t be happier right now.

It’s been a very interesting progression for you, in terms of what you’re trying to do. I know there’s that long-term expectation of getting to the Top 100, Top 50 and beyond. How are you managing that while still focusing on these Challenger tournaments?
Ever since I started playing, I’ve always wanted to play tennis at the highest level and eventually become No. 1 in the world. I think this is just a great stepping stone in that direction. It shows that all my hard work throughout the past couple years is paying off. I’m happy to get my first Challenger under my belt and this will give me a lot of confidence for any future ATP Tour tournaments in the future.

You had a couple of rough weeks in Europe, before coming back to the states. What did you learn from those tournaments where you had some early losses and how did that translate to these weeks in the U.S.?
Those tournaments in Europe were on clay. I hadn’t had much experience playing on the surface. But it was great to go over there for the first time as a professional and play Roland Garros qualies and then some Challengers all over Europe. It was just a great experience, no matter my results. I know I gained a lot and learned a lot and that eventually helped me in these past couple weeks back in the states. And it will definitely help me when I’m back over there in the future.

I think you are universally applauded for your problem solving. What are the things you are working on, to take this to the next level and beyond?
I always try to improve every part of my game as much as possible. During the [COVID-19] shutdown, I was definitely trying to improve my serve a lot and get some more free points from it. I am working on being more solid from the baseline and also add more variety to my game. It’s a good progression throughout the past few months. I’m definitely heading in the right direction. After this, I’m just ready to get back to the practice court and continue improving all aspects of my game. And especially fitness. That’s important and something I want to focus on more.

2020 Teenage Winners

Player Age Title Won
Carlos Alcaraz 17 years, 3 months Trieste, ITA
Carlos Alcaraz 17 years, 5 months Barcelona, ESP
Carlos Alcaraz 17 years, 5 months Alicante, ESP
Lorenzo Musetti 18 years, 6 months Forli, ITA
Brandon Nakashima 19 years, 3 months Orlando, USA
Tomas Machac 19 years, 4 months Koblenz, GER

I want to get back to that shortly, but regarding today, you saved all eight break chances. What does that say about what you’ve been doing over these last several months?
I think that saving all those break points shows my mental ability and being able to play one point at a time. I know I can come back from any situation when I’m out there. It just shows how mentally tough I am and we’ll see where that takes me in the future.

When I speak to other people in the media, everyone is in awe of your mental and emotionally stability. Do you actually have a good understanding of how different that is from so many players?
[Laughs]. Yes, I’ve definitely heard that from a lot of people, that I’m really strong mentally. It definitely helps me get through these tough matches and to win these critical points. I’m always trying to improve that.

How do you set up your offseason, with so much uncertainty surrounding the start of 2021? How do you plan what you’re going to do for the next few weeks?
As all players do, we’re just going to get back on the practice court and focus on what we can do to improve. I’m going to work on the stuff that I’ve built the past couple weeks. I know what I need to do to improve. It’s great that we have a little break, but as always I’m looking forward to competing again, no matter when it is.

I’ve been watching some of your practices and this guy over here [coach Dusan Vemic] has been pretty tough on you. Is he going to allow you to celebrate a little bit? [laughs]
I hope so. Maybe he’ll allow me to have a treat tonight, but we’ll see. I’m going to take a few days off and enjoy it as much as possible.

More 2020 #NextGenATP First-Time Winner Spotlights: Alcaraz | Musetti | Korda

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Brandon's Breakthrough: 19-Year-Old Nakashima Claims Maiden Title In Orlando

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

Orlando Open presented by Nemours (Orlando, Florida, USA): The ATP Challenger Tour has its newest teen titlist. On Sunday, Brandon Nakashima celebrated his maiden crown on home soil in Orlando, dominating all week at the USTA National Campus. The 19-year-old did not drop a set from start to finish, culminating in a 6-3, 6-4 final victory over Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

At the age of 19 years and three months, Nakashima is the youngest American champion since Frances Tiafoe in 2017. In addition, his victory marks the sixth time that a teenager has lifted a trophy this year. He joins Tomas Machac, Lorenzo Musetti and three-time winner Carlos Alcaraz in the teen winners’ circle.

2020 Teenage Winners

Player Age Title Won
Carlos Alcaraz 17 years, 3 months Trieste, ITA
Carlos Alcaraz 17 years, 5 months Barcelona, ESP
Carlos Alcaraz 17 years, 5 months Alicante, ESP
Lorenzo Musetti 18 years, 6 months Forli, ITA
Brandon Nakashima 19 years, 3 months Orlando, USA
Tomas Machac 19 years, 4 months Koblenz, GER

Appearing in his first Challenger final, the California native left it all on the court with an impressive performance against Gunneswaran. An unflappable force throughout Sunday’s championship, Nakashima would save all eight break points faced during the one-hour and 18-minute encounter. Leading by a set and a break, he overcame a 0/40 deficit deep in the second set and never looked back.

Nakashima soars 36 spots to a career-high No. 166 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He is one of two #NextGenATP Americans closing in on the Top 100, along with Sebastian Korda. Korda is also coming off a maiden Challenger triumph, prevailing two weeks ago in Eckental, Germany.

Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil (Guayaquil, Ecuador): The longest-running tournament in South America crowned Francisco Cerundolo as its champion on Sunday. The Argentine triumphed on the clay of Guayaquil, defeating Andrej Martin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 for his second Challenger title.

It has been a ruthless run for Cerundolo in recent months, posting a 13-2 record since mid-September. After lifting his first Challenger trophy in Split, Croatia, the 22-year-old has not looked back. He earned consecutive wins over clay-court talents Jaume Munar, Roberto Carballes Baena and Martin to secure his second title.

Cerundolo was presented with the trophy by tournament director and former World No. 4 Andres Gomez. The final was broadcast on ESPN’s digital platform in Latin America and was watched by thousands in the region.


Sparkasse Challenger 80 (Ortisei, Italy): Cerundolo isn’t the only player carrying serious momentum in 2021. Ilya Ivashka also claimed his second Challenger title of the restart, fighting to the finish line on the indoor hard courts of Ortisei. Ivashka defeated fifth seed Antoine Hoang for the title, prevailing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) on Sunday.

The Belarusian triumphed after two hours and 19 minutes, improving to 13-1 since mid-October. Also the champion in Istanbul a month ago, Ivashka rises to No. 107 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Minsk native, who reached a career-high of No. 80 in 2019, has closed out his season in dominant fashion, dropping just four combined sets in his last 14 matches.


The ATP Tour season might be over, but two weeks remain on the ATP Challenger Tour. A pair of clay-court stops on South American soil include tournaments in Lima, Peru and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Cerundolo and top seed Federico Coria lead the charge in Lima, while Thiago Monteiro is the top seed in Sao Paulo. Brazil’s #NextGenATP star Thiago Seyboth Wild is also competing on home soil.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Medvedev: ‘It Was The Toughest Victory In My Life’

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

With eight ATP Tour titles, including three ATP Masters 1000 triumphs, Daniil Medvedev entered his maiden Nitto ATP Finals championship match on Sunday with an already stellar list of career achievements. But after winning his biggest title to date at The O2 with a comeback win against Dominic Thiem, the Russian ranked his ninth final victory as the toughest match of his career.

The World No. 4 had already beaten the top two players in the FedEx ATP Rankings — Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal — en route to the championship match, but it was his win against the Austrian that the 24-year-old will be most proud of when he looks back on his title run in years to come.

”It was the toughest victory in my life because Dominic is a really tough player to play,” said Medvedev. “I think today he was at his best… That’s what I felt during the match. He was really close to winning it [in the] second set. I managed to stay there. I felt in the third set that I was really tired physically, for sure, but I felt like he started to miss some balls, he started to run a little bit slower because he was tired.

”To make Dominic tired in a three-set match, not a five-set, I think is a great achievement. All these small things, Dominic is playing as [of] today [as] one of the best players in the history [of the sport], not yet maybe by the titles and Grand Slams, but as I say, playing [with the form of] today.”

Medvedev’s win against Thiem made history at the Nitto ATP Finals. No player had defeated the top three players in a single edition of the tournament until Sunday. The Russian is only the fourth player, alongside Boris Becker (1994 Stockholm), Djokovic (2007 Montreal) and David Nalbandian (2007 Madrid), to achieve the feat at any event since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990.

”It is amazing [to beat the Top 3 here]… In the group I beat Novak, then Rafa in the semi-finals and Dominic in the final, [the] best players in the world… [It] means a lot,” said Medvedev. “[It] shows what I’m capable of when I’m playing good, when I’m feeling good mentally, physically. I know what I’m capable of. I just need to produce it more and more and hopefully more matches like this.”

Medvedev’s title run provided a fitting end to London’s 12-year reign as the host city of the season finale. The first edition held in London in 2009 was won by his countryman Nikolay Davydenko, who commentated on the 2020 final for Russian TV. Medvedev was happy to follow in his idol’s footsteps and end the last chapter of the event in London in the same way the story began at The O2: with a Russian holding the trophy.

”[Starting and finishing London with Russian champions] is super cool. I actually didn’t know, but Nikolay Davydenko commented on my match on Russian TV. He was a commentator during this match, and then I managed to talk to him just after the match,” said Medvedev.

”I was so surprised and so happy because he was one of my idols when I was growing up when I was actually already starting to play tennis not so bad, he was there and he was playing unbelievable.”

Daniil Medvedev is the undefeated 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion.

Just one month ago, Medvedev was far away from the form that saw him win 10 consecutive matches to sweep titles at the Rolex Paris Masters and the Nitto ATP Finals. The Moscow-native, who beat seven Top 10 players across the two events, arrived in Paris with just three wins from his past eight matches. Medvedev was also searching for his first trophy in 13 months.

”The tournaments I played before [Paris], they were not bad. I was playing good tennis… I lost to Reilly Opelka in St. Petersburg… Same in Vienna, playing Kevin Anderson, tough, tough opponent, which I had in Paris-Bercy… In Paris, I just was fighting. I was fighting in Vienna and St. Petersburg also and I knew [my level] might come back but maybe not this year. Finally, it was the case in Paris. I started playing better, started playing amazing, I should say.”

”When you have this sort of confidence, you just need to know how to keep it. And I think I do know how to do it, especially looking back at last year also where I had six finals in a row. So now the question is how to find it faster sometimes.”

Medvedev will be aiming to carry the confidence he has found over the past few weeks into the 2021 ATP Tour season. The Russian, alongside two-time runner-up Thiem, will be hoping to continue his successful run and put even greater pressure on Djokovic and Nadal at the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Medvedev and Thiem became the first players since Roger Federer in 2010 to beat Djokovic and Nadal in the same edition of the Nitto ATP Finals this week. The question for both players will be whether they can gain similar success against the two dominant forces of the past decade next year.

”My level of game here, especially [in] the last two matches I won [was] just unbelievable. It can give me a lot for my future career,” said Medvedev. “To beat Dominic the way he played today and to manage to beat him is probably my best victory of my life. Not even talking about the title itself. I mean, to win the Nitto ATP Finals, being undefeated, honestly I know I can play good, but I would not believe it if you would tell me this before the tournament. So [this is] a great boost of confidence for all the Slams coming up and all the tournaments. Hopefully I can continue this way.”

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Brain Game: Why Daniil Is Russian To Net

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

It was Russian roulette on a tennis court. The Russian won.

Daniil Medvedev threw caution to the wind and courageously served and volleyed seven times behind his second serve against Dominic Thiem in the final of the Nitto ATP Finals in London Sunday. He won six of them.

Medvedev’s 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory was stunning in several ways, with his commitment to come forward in the big moments behind his second serve a driving force behind the biggest win of his career.

Pivotal moments in the match seemed to be constantly unfolding, but none moreso than Medvedev serving at the precarious scoreline of 3-3 30/40 in the second set. He misses his first serve down the T and then hit a heavy, 83mph kick second serve out wide that Thiem was sitting on with a potent run-around forehand return. The Austrian uncorked it at Medvedev’s feet but the Russian somehow managed to get it up and over the net and short in the court. It was pure desperation on both sides of the net.

Thiem raced forward looking to rip another forehand but the ball stayed low and Thiem was forced to slice it with his topspin grip. As is prone to happen, the wrong grip forces the ball wide and Medvedev won the point.

Two points later, Thiem had another break point, and Medvedev reached into his serve and volley bag of tricks once more, this time hitting an ace with his first serve as he sprinted straight to the net. No desperate volley needed this time.

Overall, Medvedev served and volleyed 16 times in the final, winning 13 of them. In the previous game at 2-2 in the second set, Medvedev also trailed 30/40. He served and volleyed behind a first serve on and struck another ace right down the T.

The bigger the moment, the more chance you had of finding the Russian stalking the net.

Another pivotal moment in the match came in the second set tie-break with Thiem serving at 2-3. Medvedev got a look at a 100mph second serve straight to his backhand return where he could step into the shot. He surprised everyone with his only return approach of the match. The bold tactic caught Thiem off guard and his backhand slice passing shot only made it half way up the net. Medvedev won the next three points in quick succession to take the second set.


Overall, Medvedev came to the net a staggering 48 times (including serve & volley), winning an impressive 38 (79%) of them. In set two alone, he won 21 of 27 points (78%). From 3-3, Ad Out in the second set to 2-2, 15-15 in the third set, Medvedev came to the net 16 times and won every single point. Thiem must have felt like he was running away from an avalanche.

Medvedev’s successful serve and volley strategy is right out of the Patrick Rafter playbook. The key is to hit the second serve with copious amounts of topspin that moves slow through the air but explodes off the court to kick up high around the returner’s shoulders. The slower serve is actually an advantage for Medvedev because it gives him more time to get in tight to the net. And when you factor in that Thiem stood way back against second serves – quite often five to six metres behind the baseline – then that provided Medvedev even more time to close in and cut off angles.

This is not Medvedev’s first time to showcase serve and volley on the big stage. He served and volleyed 29 times against Rafael Nadal in the 2019 US Open final, winning a very healthy 76 per cent (22).

Medvedev’s modern game style is a lethal mix of aggressive baseliner and short-ball hunter. It’s a swarming all-court strategy that just collected one of the biggest prizes in our sport.

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Medvedev To Monfils & Murray: 'I'm The Happiest Man In The World'

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

Straight after Daniil Medvedev left the trophy ceremony in celebration of his Nitto ATP Finals victory, his first stop was joining Gael Monfils and Andy Murray’s Twitch stream. It’s safe to say the Russian was thrilled after capturing the biggest title of his career.

“It’s just unbelievable, because it’s 10 matches I’ve won in a row and two of the biggest tournaments at the end of the year. I remember my first match against [Kevin] Anderson in Paris where he retired at 5/2 in the tie-break. I couldn’t put one return in the court. I was sometimes on the ball, but it was going 10 metres out and in my mind I was like, ‘I’m playing so bad right now. I’m playing so bad,’” Medvedev said. “Then just by fighting, by keeping in the matches I started to raise my level and just played unbelievable.

“Today was probably the best victory of my life, not in terms even of the title, in terms of the match. To beat Dominic when he is playing like this, he is really tough. I think he actually likes the way I play, so it was really tough mentally. I’m just the happiest man in the world at this moment.”

Watch Replay Of Twitch Stream

Murray was quite amused that Medvedev did not show emotions after championship point, also adding that he noticed the 24-year-old’s coach, Gilles Cervara, didn’t get overly excited either.

“My coach can have emotions, but I think they maybe turned the camera when it was the wrong moment,” Medvedev said. “But also when I don’t have emotions, it’s tough for him. He’s alone there, and he will not be screaming alone.”

Medvedev said that the lack of celebration doesn’t mean he’s not pumped.

“It started last year at the US Open more or less when I had some problems with the crowd. I think every player at one moment in his career decides maybe one thing special he wants to do [with his] tennis, something like this,” Medvedev said. “I know how to keep my emotions, not all the time, [as] especially the bad ones are tough to control. But I know how to control them and [that] lets me [do] this thing.

“They showed the 12 winners of the London [Nitto ATP] Finals. Everybody was lying on the ground, crying, screaming. And me they couldn’t even show the celebration. They just showed how we shook hands… if they would just show me walking, it would be stupid. In a way, it’s special. I know it’s not in any way cocky, I don’t try to be cocky or anything. But [it’s] just my style that I will keep for all my career.”

The first-time season finale champion was quick to point out that off the court, he has celebrated plenty. He turned his attention to Monfils.

“One of my best victories in my life is also when I beat you 3-0 in FIFA!” Medvedev said, as the Frenchman began laughing hysterically. “[That was] something special. I was celebrating, I was not even calm there. I was celebrating, Andy! I was celebrating this.”

“He’s always telling me he’s the best on the Tour on PlayStation and he’s unbelievable,” Murray said. “But I know about 10 people who have killed him!”

“Daniil I will get you back, no worries brother,” Monfils said as he continued to laugh.

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Thiem Targeting New Heights After ‘Intense’ 2020 Season

  • Posted: Nov 23, 2020

Dominic Thiem is determined to continue targeting the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings and keep perspective after being denied the Nitto ATP Finals title for a second year in a row, falling in a thrilling three-set clash against Daniil Medvedev on Sunday night.

The World No.3 led the Russian by a set and held break chances in two of his opponent’s service games in the second set. But just as Stefanos Tsitsipas did to Thiem in last year’s final, Medvedev fought his way back and roared to a 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory at The O2.

Having had time to reflect on the ‘would have’, ‘could have’ and ‘should haves’, Thiem said that there’s not much he would have done differently against Medvedev in their fifth FedEx Head2Head clash. If the Austrian was going to go down, he was happy he did it while playing his game.

“Honestly, I would do the same again, play a lot of slice,” Thiem reflected in his post-match press conference. “The way he broke me in the third set was an unreal game. He put great returns in. I had [a] few chances to convert that game. He played some great rallies there.

“Probably if you look at the whole tournament, he was the best player,” Thiem added. “He didn’t lose a set in the group stage. Beat No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world in the semis and in the final, so he definitely deserved that title.”

The loss will surely sting after leading by a set in the final – and having to fight past two heavyweights in Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the two top-ranked players in the world to even reach that stage. But the Austrian was quick to put things in perspective after a rollercoaster 2020 season that saw him reach the biggest title of his career at the US Open, playing under unprecedented ‘bubble’ conditions due to COVID-19.

“When the tennis world, our job came back – I mean, luckily it came back – everything was different with life in the bubble, playing without [a] crowd. There were many, many new experiences,” Thiem reflected. “I think it is still a very tough year for many, many people. We athletes, and I’m speaking of tennis players, we are very privileged to do our jobs.

“If I speak about the tennis, if I speak about my job, I mean, it has been an outstanding year. I have reached one of my big lifetime goals with winning that Grand Slam.

“So even though it’s a tough year, it will always have a special place in my heart this year, 100%.”


Last year, Thiem responded emphatically to his Nitto ATP Finals defeat by playing some of the best tennis of his career. The defeat seemed to galvanise him as he started the year with first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, and after the Tour’s six-month break he continued to reach new heights with his US Open title, reaching his career-high FedEx ATP Ranking.

What could lie ahead in 2021? Far from satisfied with his No. 3 spot, Thiem said he’s determined to narrow the gap between him and the world’s best.

“It was still a very intense year, since the Tour returned [it] was super intense, so I haven’t set myself any goals yet for next year,” he mused. “But of course I want to climb up the Rankings.

“I mean, this year and also [last] year has been amazing. I was playing great and had deep runs in many, many big tournaments. That’s what I want to do as well next year. If I’m able to do that, I think I will also get chances to climb the Rankings.”

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