Fils Meets Medjedovic: Who Will Join Exclusive Club In Jeddah?
The final chance for title glory of the 2023 ATP Tour season also represents an opportunity for Arthur Fils and Hamad Medjedovic to join an impressive list of champions at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.
Top seed Fils and sixth seed Medjedovic face off at 8 p.m. local time Saturday at King Abdullah Sports City, where they are each hoping to join current Top 10 stars Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas as champions at the season-ending 21-and-under event.
Both players head into the championship match undefeated for the week in Saudi Arabia and their maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting promises to be an intriguing one. Despite Fils sitting 74 places higher than Medjedovic in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the Frenchman will take nothing for granted against a player who has thrilled fans this week with his powerful groundstrokes and huge serving.
“We’ve known each other a long time,” said the World No. 36 Fils on Friday in Jeddah. “We played juniors together, so I know that he has an unbelievable serve. The fastest of the tournament. It’s going to be a tough one. I’m going to need to know exactly how to play, with good tactics, but I think that it’s going to be a good match for sure.
“With his tennis and my tennis, we are altogether playing [well]. Let’s see tomorrow, but he’s a nice guy. I hope he will be very good for the next generation [on Tour], but not tomorrow I hope.”
Fils showed impressive composure to down his friend and countryman Luca Van Assche in four sets in the semi-finals on Friday, before Medjedovic advanced after Dominic Stricker (back) retired in the second set of their last-four clash. The 20-year-old Serbian is looking forward to reigniting his junior rivalry with Fils when the pair steps out in the first ATP-sanctioned title match on Saudi Arabian soil.
“I think it’s going to be a really good match,” said Medjedovic on Saturday. “Arthur is a really good player, he’s already [World No.36]. He’s a really good friend of mine as well. I’ve known him for a long time and I’m excited to play him tomorrow.”
‘Bring The Energy’: Fils Ready To Lead France’s Next Generation In Style
Fils won 19 tour-level matches in 2023 and lifted his maiden ATP Tour title in Lyon in May, while Medjedovic reached his first semi-finals at that level in Gstaad and Astana and also lifted three trophies on the ATP Challenger Tour. Having each enjoyed breakthrough years, both will want to finish 2023 with a flourish by becoming Next Gen ATP Finals champion in Jeddah.
“To end the year like this is always nice,” said Medjedovic when asked how much winning would boost him heading into 2024. “Especially if I win the whole tournament. I’m happy to be in the final, but the job is not done yet and I want to win tomorrow.”