The world’s number one peer Novak Djokovic Russia was overthrown Daniel Medvedev From sets ju sets to win his ninth place Australian Open Title and extending his record reign at Melbourne Gardens on Sunday.
Russia finished unbeaten in 20 matches, beating Djokovic 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in front of 7,400 fans at the Rod Laver Arena.
Serbia won their 18th Grand Slam title, beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by 20 points each, to win the Australian Open for the second and third time. Medvedev turned down his first chance.
One player has dominated so much in one tournament and he is ahead of Federer’s eight at Wimbledon, the Serbian record ninth title. But Nadal has won far more than 13 at Roland Garros.
But it was a rollercoaster ride to get there, and Djokovic had to give up five sets for the grand final and retire after the third round battling a stomach injury.
Despite admitting that it would be a gamble to continue playing, the injury would worsen and affect the rest of his season. At 33, he decided to go ahead and it worked.
“Thanks to this court, Rod Laver Arena, I love you more and more every year – the love affair continues,” Djokovic, who was relieved, paid tribute to Medvedev.
“Daniel, a class play, a great guy person and a great person person,” he said.
“I like him out of court … but in court he’s definitely one of the toughest players I’ll ever faced in my life.
“It’s a matter of time until you hold a Grand Slam.”
Djokovic spoke to the crowd after he was scolded by Tennis Australian President Jane Hardlika for referring to the Kovid vaccine and the Victorian government.
Unusual scenes came as the coronation virus was delayed by three weeks at the end of the tournament and fans had to be interrupted for five days.
The 25-year-old Medvedev is one of the best players on the tour. Guessing his opponents with his flat and low ground shots and changing speed and angles, he mixes indefinite defense with an opportunistic offense.
But the Serbian, who has a record of 4-3 against him from the head but has lost three of the previous four, had his measure.
“It’s never easy to find the words when you lose a Grand Slam final,” Medvedev said.
“But congratulations to Novak and his team. I mean, nine Grand Slams in Australia and a total of 18 is amazing.
“I really wanted to make this match long and fun. But today it was not.
In front of a Djokovic crowd, Medvedev overcame two previous hints in his starting service game and sent one into the net to give Serb the first break points, and then a wild backhand saw him on the back leg.
Djokovic combined with a server for love after the Russian was knocked out 1-3. But then failed drop shots and high-seeded net volley allowed the Russians to return.
Long rallies ensued and it continued with the service until Djokovic’s brilliant strikes scored 3-5 breaks. Medvedev, who lost the starting set, saved two but was not third.
The careless, tall, pencil-thin Russian continued to come in, and Djokovic’s starting service called for pressure to break the second set, only to strike back immediately into Serbia.
Djokovic won three matches in a row, despite being prevented from expelling two fans during a refugee protest.
He led 5-2, with Medvedev breaking his racket in frustration and beginning to lose the championship.
Medvedev dropped his starting line-up in the third set, but Djokovic could not find a way back, compared to Russia’s second in the 28th Grand Slam final.
The victory confirmed Djokovic’s position as world number one, surpassing Federer’s record of 310, marking his 311st week when new rankings came out on Monday.
Medvedev will move up to the top three in the rankings behind Nadal.