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February 21, 2021

Daniil Medvedev

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/D. Medvedev

7-5, 6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously you're extremely disappointed right now, but can you just recap the match, and when that last point was played, what went through your heart and head.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, it's definitely tough. I don't like to lose matches. Doesn't matter if it's a first round or a final of a Grand Slam. Of course, it's just that feeling that you're closer to hold the trophy than when you lose the first round.

Talking about the match, it's tough, you know, just when you lost to reconsider straightaway. But I feel like it's the kind of matches I won throughout this tournament that he won today.

Like, I was there in the first set, I was up a break in the second, but in the end I lost in three sets where I didn't play bad but I didn't play high best level. Probably he made his game that good today that I couldn't stay at my best level.

Yeah, I obviously thought about Rublev and Tsitsipas both amazing top-10 players, and I won with similar score where they were playing good, but I felt like I was better. So today was the case for Novak.

I cannot say much better than this. He was better than me today. I could have done things for sure better today, but I didn't manage to. That's why I don't have the trophy.

Q. In trying to crack these top three players in finals, what do you think is the key? Do you think you got closer to it through the experience tonight, or do you feel right now you're farther from that than you were yesterday?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think I got closer because I always say experience is the key for me. Next time if I play Novak ever here in the final, I for sure going to do some things on the court, maybe off the court also, differently because at least I would have this experience where he won me easy. So I'll try to do something better. Doesn't mean that I will succeed, but that's life of a tennis player.

Talking about the top three, you know, I always say they're just better than other tennis players. I'm not shy to say this. It's just truth. In fact, in numbers and everything. After, of course, when you're out there, you want to beat them. You don't care that it's the big three or the big 100. But that's why they have so many slams. They're just really good.

Q. You told that endearing story about hitting with him in Monaco. We think it was 2014. Does that make sense?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I don't remember the year. Probably I was going to Minsk, to Belarus, for futures. He was going to Montreal, Toronto, I don't remember which one of the two, after just winning Wimbledon. It was my coach, I think talk to top players, he just said he wanted to hit with somebody in Monaco, I was around.

Yeah, what I said there is true. I come there, also hearing stories in the media that Novak is not a nice guy, all this. He was late. That's the only bad thing I remember, that he was late (smiling). He was super nice to me.

As I said, I was really shy. I was like, you know, staying just playing some balls, trying not to miss, for sure really stressed. I'm playing the world No. 1 and all this. He was super nice. Nothing much to say.

After we had some other stories where he took me on a private jet to Serbia on Davis Cup. Still I was just two weeks in the top hundred or something like this. Yeah, he was always really nice to me. He helped me a lot I would say for my confidence in my career.

Q. Obviously you didn't play your best tonight. Do you think that was generated by you having a bad day or how much of that is Novak played a beautiful match? Did he cause you problems?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: That's where it's tough to say because I don't know hundred percent. I feel like I for sure could have played better. Especially looking at the matches where I played him.

At the same time there is always a question maybe he was not that good the other matches I played him because it's always day by day. You know the question is how did he manage to win here nine times out of nine. Probably all the nine times he was better than his opponent.

I don't have an answer to this question. He definitely was good. I definitely could have done better. But even if I would have done better, doesn't mean that the score would be different, so...

Today we have this score. I'm the loser; he's the winner. That's the point.

Q. First set was very crucial, wasn't it?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I mean, that's where the difference is. If we look the game that I lost, the first one, for sure get out there, not really tight, but it's just the start. You want to get into it.

I actually hit all my first serves. He broke me. So not many guys capable of doing it. Top three probably are.

The last game was Love-40, trying to come back. Hit two good serves, one good point, 30-40. Make a really good serve. He managed to, on the stretch, like I do sometimes, bring it back. I put it in the net. Set is done. That's where he's stronger than many other players on the tour.

Q. I think many tennis fans are expecting you to beat these top players in slams because of your potential and record against these good players. Do you prefer to beat these top three, top four guys in the final or it doesn't matter to you?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It depends how we put the question. To win a Grand Slam, I don't care who to beat. It's a Grand Slam. It's a trophy. I will be playing against Aslan Karatsev in the final. If I would beat him, I would be really happy. I would be playing against Novak, I think I would be same happy. It's a Grand Slam, it's a trophy.

But if I have to face them, I would say, yeah, in the final is probably funnier, I would call it, because that's where is the biggest challenge. I had two chances. I lost both of them. Hopefully I will have some more.

As I say, a Grand Slam is a Grand Slam no matter who you beat, no matter which round.

Q. Does this loss hurt more than the US Open final defeat because of how you've been playing?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I would say US Open hurt more because I had more chances finally to win it than I had today. But both losses hurt. The only thing that keeps me warm is that, you know, I always try to do my best on the court.

Today my best, I was not happy with myself during the match. I felt like I'm doing my best, but it's not there. It happens. This is also life. That's why, you know, I always say that after I finish my career, no matter 20 slams, one slam, zero slams, if I always try -- of course, you cannot be 365 days in a year at your best, but if I try to do my best, that's why I became more professional a few years ago, working more physically, mentally on the court, out of the court, trying to eat good during tournaments and stuff like this.

That's where I will have no regrets when I finish my career no matter what I achieve. That's I find the most important after such defeats.

Q. Were you surprised that he kept trying to bring you in as opposed to moving you side to side?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I feel like he always does it against me but against many other players. He likes to do dropshots, some short slices. So I was ready for it.

Yeah, definitely. I remember some points, maybe even important ones, where he was at the net. If I go cross, I would pass him, but he went down the line. I went down the line, he was there, he won the point.

That's tennis. You know, you can watch the match on the laptop together and I'll say, Okay, this shot should have done different, better, something. That's also where he's really good in reading opponent's game, knowing what you will do next, how to beat you.

Q. How long do you think it would take you to get over this?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: To be honest, I'm usually quite easy in defeats, I would say. I'll be playing in Rotterdam in a few weeks. That's the best part of tennis, is when you win a tournament, if you have a tournament next week and you're going to lose a final, semifinal, first round, you're going to be disappointed with the loss, you will almost not remember a win.

I guess it's different after a Grand Slam win. I don't have one so I cannot say. But, yeah, I mean, I'll definitely discuss it. We already did a little bit, but discuss it with my coach just for an experience to be better next time. I think in two days I will be home and just will be preparing for the next tournament, which is really soon, Rotterdam.

Yeah, I would say two days.

Q. You mentioned watching matches on your laptop. Will you watch this?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: No, I don't like watching matches in replay because I feel like I remember them in my head. If I work mentally on something, that's when I can watch matches with the person who helps me mentally. But with my coach, we don't.

We did first long ago, felt like it doesn't bring something special to my game, which is our goal, is to bring the best out of my game. I feel like the more I watch matches I lost, even if it's experience, the more I watch them, the more I get into that atmosphere where I lost, which I don't like.

Q. You mentioned there were things you might do differently on or off the court. Could you think about your first Grand Slam final, if there were things you took away from that match that you tried to implicate in this one or experiences that you took away from that that you tried to use?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, was two different matches, for sure. Just they play differently. One is a lefty, the other is a right handed, straightaway. And Rafa gives you more time to think on the court. But then, you know, he's amazing in defense. He's amazing with his forehand. You feel like you won the point, he makes some crazy shots. But you have time to think and you have time to adapt to things.

Today with Novak, I felt like I wanted to mix up things, I wanted to try to do something different, but I felt like he took all the time from me, he took all the advantage in his side straightaway.

I was there. We still played like two hours or something, not that fast match. For me it felt like 30 minutes and I was there holding the finalist trophy.

I will not say right now, I don't know what I'm going to do differently, but for sure I'm going to try to do something differently. That's two completely different matches which are both experience. I'm really grateful for this.

Q. Would you say Novak's serving seemed different or better to you than when you've played him in the past?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Maybe. He was serving really good all the crucial moments. Almost he was serving on the line. I think when I had a second serve to play, I was not that bad. From what I remember, I think I won some points, some even important ones. Two times I broke him.

But his serving was exceptional. That's where I felt like I could serve a little bit better today. Maybe it also comes because Novak is returning unbelievable, so it always puts pressure on yourself.

You try to go for a little bit more, where when you hit aces, you feel like you're in the zone. That's where tennis is a fun thing. It's always a battle of energies, battle of two opponents.

But answering your question, his serving I think was better than it was before against me.

Q. In terms of playing Novak at this tournament, on that court, how would you describe what's unique about what he does here that makes it harder on opponents?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: To be honest, I don't know. He's probably feeling -- I guess he likes the surface, because even if the surface they change it every year a little bit, it's still same brand, I would say, if it's the right word.

So probably he feels the atmosphere good here because the balls for sure are flying differently if it's US Open or Australian Open. I'm not even talking about Roland Garros or Wimbledon because it's different surfaces. So there is something about Melbourne that he likes so much, just talking about his tennis. That's why he won here nine times.

I would not be able to tell you if it's the serve, backhand or the forehand. It's all together.

Q. He mentioned in his post-match speech that he thought you were one of the toughest players he's ever faced. Where do you rank him? Do you view him as the hardest opponent you've ever faced?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I rank him in top three hardest opponents that I ever faced. I'm not joking. I mean, played all of them. I think when they want to is not a good word, I'm sure they want to win every tournament also, but when they're in the zone, and I'm not shy to say it, I feel like they're just better tennis players, again, which shows facts and numbers, than the rest of us, if we can call like this.

For sure, when we are also in the zone, we can bring them big fight, we can win some matches, some maybe big titles. But it's just that the percentage is on their side. Yeah, I rank these top three toughest opponents in my life.

Q. When you say they're in the zone, before the match he had kind of spoken a bit about saying he was going to show that you young guys aren't quite at their level. Do you think he came out with that determination today, Yeah, I'm still the big boss here?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think for sure it was his determination, but not against the young guys. I think it would be the same if he would be playing Roger or Rafa. I mean, I remember when I lost to him here in fourth round, I watched the final against Rafa. I think I'm feeling like Rafa this day tonight.

Yeah, he's just playing unbelievable here. For sure, if we can say like this, I guess he's the King of Melbourne, even if I don't like these words. What else can we say? He won here nine out of nine times when he was in the semis.

Q. We were very pleased to hear of your special relationship with Novak. I'm interested in hearing from you whether you believe that such current rivals could develop a relationship that could, let's say, assist a successor to such a great champion such as Novak? Do you think Novak could be some kind of a mentor, perhaps, in developing relationships?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think that's a better question to him, because for sure while he's still playing, I'm sure even, as I said, he helps many guys with some small advices or even just being -- I would say in a way he has the right -- you know, he's one of the best three players in the history of the sport. He has the right to see some 500 ranked sparring, not talk to him not because he's arrogant or something, but just because, well, it's not his business, you know? I live my life, he lives his life.

But for sure while he still plays, I don't think he's going to be my mentor or anything. Imagine I beat him in the final of a Grand Slam. He's sitting there, Why the hell did I teach him this? After his career, I have no idea.

I mean, if he can help me with something, I would be really happy. Again, he's just unbelievable tennis player.

Q. You spoke a moment ago about the big three, when they're in the zone. Now I'd like to ask you what your thoughts are for you, what the meaning is of the history that Novak, Roger, and Rafa have accomplished?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Nothing else to say than they are undoubtedly, like, I don't think anyone can argue with the three biggest names in tennis history. I'm talking only about results. I'm not talking off court, game. I'm talking about results. What they did in tennis is unbelievable for me, like I said last time.

I'm 25 now. To win nine Australian Opens, I need to win every year until I'm 34. I mean, I believe in myself, but I don't think I'm able to do it. Same with Rafa. I mean, 13 Roland Garros... We're talking about some Cyborgs of tennis in a good way. They're just unbelievable.

Every time I go out there, when I say this, I'm not at all when I'm out there thinking about this, thinking, Okay, they are too strong for me. I always want to win. I beat some of them in some big tournaments, like London for example. Just need to be better next time in the Grand Slam finals against these two guys or Roger.

Q. We've seen what you can do on hard courts at Grand Slams. Do you feel you can match it or even go better on clay or grass? What do you need to do to get to the same level on those surfaces?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I feel unfortunately last year there was no grass court season because that was the first moment where I would be top 10 playing during grass court season. I think my game developed well. I always liked playing on grass.

I think I can do some big results there. So we'll be looking forward to this year.

Clay? I feel like I can play good. I proved it to myself in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, beating some big names on clay courts in these two tournaments. Just I feel like there are definitely some parts of my game that I should improve on clay. Maybe I will not be able to do it throughout my career.

For example, I'm talking about last year, I had only two matches to play after tough US Open, after half a year of not playing because of corona, and I felt like I got the two guys that were the most on fire during this exact match against me, only hitting lines and winners. I mean, the goal of this year is to win a match at Roland Garros. That's the biggest goal of the year (smiling).

Q. I wanted to go back to the match. After the first set ended the way it did, you won the first game, you broke him in the first game of the second set. What happened in the next four games? How did it play for you mentally? What did you think happened?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, you know, when you lose a tough first set, it's always good to break straightaway. It makes you forget the first set. I was like, Okay, this is the momentum change. I got the lead in the second set. I got the serve. Let's go. Then I was down 1-4 quite fast (smiling).

Coming back again, I should have done better things for sure. Maybe should have served an ace in one moment. Should have put a forehand winner or something.

At the same time, he returned the balls in the court. He was aggressive. He was making winners when he had to. We're just coming again to the moment where he was a better tennis player today, without a doubt, which is disappointing for me, but not much else to say.

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