February 19, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
D. MEDVEDEV/S. Tsitsipas
6-4, 6-2, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congrats. Do you know that since November you have now beaten every other member of the top 10 apart from Roger who is not playing? How proud are you of that achievement?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, it's great to know this. It's a pity that Roger is not playing. I would love to have played him. I'm not saying anything. I just would love to play against him. I mean, to play against Roger is always a privilege. Against Novak, Rafa, Roger.
But it's great to hear this. I mean, happy about myself, because I remember one moment when I was already playing quite good I actually was struggling with the top 10 guys when I was maybe around top 20 or top 30. It's great to hear this and I'm really happy about it.
Q. Did that feel like your best performance of the tournament?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: No, with Rublev I think I played better, but was definitely a great match, still. I'm not saying it was a bad match at all. But, anyway, it was, yeah, was a great match to win in straight sets, especially with a tough third one.
Is a great achievement, second Grand Slam final. Only positives to take from this match.
Q. How have you changed as far as walking onto the court with your confidence and just how you're feeling in pressure moments during matches?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: To be honest, they were all different, the matches, tournaments, because tournaments change. So it's tough to keep this momentum going, you know, from London to Melbourne.
So far away. You had the preseason between it. I'm just happy that I managed to keep my game on top. Of course, yeah, for the confidence, when you beat everybody, is just great, because I think people start maybe to be a little bit scared about you. At the same time sometimes there are gonna be some that are gonna want to beat you even more. It's a tricky situation, but I'm happy I managed to be on top in all those 20 matches.
Q. The hiccup in the third set and you eventually got it back on track, what happened there? Did you just lose a little bit of concentration in that service game?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Everything happened. Crowd got behind him so it helped him to up his game a little bit. I got a little bit tight, not because of the score at all but more because of the crowd because, you know, when you're used to playing with a crowd, it's one thing. Nothing bothers you if you're good mentally, if you're focused.
It was probably the first match since Marseilles last year was the last tournament I played with a crowd, where it was full stadium and they were going behind him more. And the game I lost just before my serves, they were going strong.
So when you're used to it it doesn't bother you. Here it did get into my head. I'm happy that I managed to change my focus and change the momentum at the end of the third set.
Q. You mentioned that you got a little tight in that set. I'm curious, because you were up, I think you had double break point at 3-1 or something like that?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah.
Q. Did you start thinking, okay, I win this point it's over? Is that when you tightened up, or was it after the point, after he got closer? And off that question, you know you'll have those moments on Sunday, those tight moments. What do you do to prepare for them and how do you get through them?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: For me, it's all about experience. For example, I played one Grand Slam final already. For sure was tight in many moments there. Sometimes it helped me; sometimes not. So I know what it is like, and I know how it's gonna be on Sunday.
So experience is the key. And same, that's why I say, I didn't have this experience with a crowd for almost a year. So these moments, they go away from your mind. As you say, I had not a double break point but two breakpoints in 3-1. He played them good. I could have done a little bit better, but it's okay, it happens.
Then, you know, do one double fault, it's double breakpoint for him. Just miss an easy forehand because somebody was screaming behind me. I miss it full in the net. Then it's 3-All, he plays better. That's what tennis is about, and that's why we like tennis, also.
But, yeah, as you asked me, experience from the last Grand Slam final is going to be a big key to not get tight and to just play again.
Q. For pretty much the entire match the crowd was firmly behind Stefanos. Did it remind you a little bit of your run at the US Open a few years ago? I wanted to know, especially during that first part of the match, did you find you were able to feed off the crowd's energy like you did during that entire run?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, it's tough to say, because the match was going so much my way that I didn't actually care who they are. Especially, I mean, in tennis, mostly what we see is the crowd goes behind those who are losing the match, and it's normal because they bought the tickets, they want a five-hour match with a tiebreaker in the fifth. It's completely normal.
I didn't think about it at all. As I mentioned, just in the third set got a little bit tricky with all the things going behind. And also, yeah, still, I mean, I was almost, let's say it like this, almost in the final, lost my break, we never know what can happen.
Yeah, I didn't think much about it. A little bit in the third set but I managed to change my thinking.
Q. Were you conscious of getting them involved in the match once you did hit that ridiculous backhand passing shot?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Sorry?
Q. Were you sort of conscious of getting them sort of back involved in the match once you did hit that ridiculous backhand?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, kind of. As you say, they were mostly for him, and that was, you know, the moment that I won the match, we should say. Of course you have to serve after, but that was important moment. So I wanted them to recognize me, I would say, because the shot was unbelievable, I think one of my best shots in my career (smiling).
Actually, my legs were facing the other way of the court because I didn't have time, so I have no idea how I made this, and I was really happy about it.
Q. After the match tonight you said all the pressure is on him. Who is the pressure on this week and who is the favorite on Sunday night?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think he's the favorite because he didn't lose. In eight occasions that he was here in the semis he won the tournament. Me, I'm, how you can call it, I don't know how you call it in English, not an outsider, but I'm the challenger, the guy that challenge the guy who was eight times in the final and won eight times. And I'm happy about it.
I like to play against Novak. We have, since the first one when I was ranked 60, we had always tough matches physically, mentally. And he's one of the greatest tennis players in the history of tennis. So playing final against him is superb. I'm really happy about it. Let's see what happens on Sunday.
When I say no pressure, for sure when we get out there we both feel pressure. I want to win my first one. He wants to win No. 18. We don't know for who the crowd is going to be. It's all the small details.
I think if we talk in general, well, I have nothing to lose, to be honest.
Q. Going into that match, his record is 4-3 on you, so it's pretty close. Do those past records mean anything going into this match, which is completely different? And you've had the experience of the Greek crowd. You're probably going to get double with the Serbian crowd. So how do you counteract all that?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I'm gonna see on Sunday. You never know before what's gonna happen. First of all, you cannot, you know, okay, tomorrow for my practice, can you guys come and you be, like, some people will be for me, some people will be against me so we can try to interact? No. I can only know on Sunday.
And about the head-to-head, I think doesn't matter that much unless it's, let's say, 10-0, then for sure it gets in the head that I didn't win the match in 10 times. It's going to be something special. When it's 4-3 I think every match is different.
Played him in Grand Slam only once. Lost it here actually in Australian Open in quite tight match, I think, when I was not at the level I am right now.
So I think gonna be a new match but for sure playing against Novak seven times already is just a huge experience. Like, for example, for Aslan yesterday when he played first time one of the big three, it's tough to beat them. If he would play him seven times before maybe he would have more chances.
Q. If you win on Sunday, how do you think your breakthrough slam will be viewed by those in Moscow and across Russia? Because this is a time in international sport when your countrymen and women have been banned from other sports. They can't use the flag, the name, or the anthem at sporting events. How do you think your breakthrough success will be viewed in your home country?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I mean, when we talk about tennis, we didn't have all these restrictions. Tennis is such an individual sport. I live in Monaco. Andrey lives in Moscow and practices in Barcelona. Karen practices in Barcelona. We all have our individual teams, so we are not part in the way of Russian Federation.
When we are gonna go, for example, in Olympics, as tennis players we're not really gonna understand why we cannot say "Russia," why we cannot see our flag, you know. I'm Russian. Why can't I say it?
It's politics. I don't go into that.
For sure hopefully it's going to be a great success for the country, again for tennis, because that's what we are trying to do as tennis players. Winning ATP Cup helped a lot. We want kids to play tennis. We want kids to know that Russia can be a great tennis country, and that's the most important. That's the most enjoyable part of success we are in.
Q. Novak kind of said after his semifinal win on Thursday, he was talking about you and the next generation stars and he was saying, you know, you guys haven't quite taken over the big three yet and you still have a lot of work to do, and he's not going to hand you anything, you have to work your ass off for it. I was just kind of wondering how that sort of comment makes you feel at the minute, how close you feel to them? And does that kind of give any extra motivation to be, like, Right, I'm gonna prove this guy wrong and show I am the real deal and ready to take him out?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: When Novak says he's not gonna hand anything to somebody, I believe him. I'm not gonna say I don't trust him. I trust him. So I know that to beat him you need to just show your best tennis, be at your best physically maybe four or five hours, and be at your best mentally maybe for five hours. Never know how the match is going to go.
I would say to win a slam, especially against somebody as Novak, is already a big motivation, and I don't think there is anything that can make it bigger. I like Novak. I appreciate him as a tennis player. And I should say as a person. So I don't take these words for sure as something negative. As I say, I'm quite motivated without those words.
Q. When you consider all of your talents, your tactics, your experiences, what gives you the greatest sense of belief going into the match against Djokovic?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Tough to answer straightaway. I think the thing that, yeah, for sure, that lately in last three months I managed to beat all of the top 10 without Roger, that I managed to beat Novak in London, maybe he was not at his best, but still, it's somewhere where he won four or five times, I think, and quite similar to here maybe.
So all of these small details, and as I say, experience of playing him seven times before, beating him three times, all these small details give me the chance to maybe be a winner on Sunday.
But again, I will need to show my best. We never know before the match if I'm gonna be able to. Hopefully I will be. And I like this. I'm gonna have my chances to win.
Q. What aspect of what Novak brings to the court concerns you the most going into Sunday? Is there a certain aspect of your game that you think absolutely has to be at its best in order for you to succeed in the final?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: To be honest, I think it's when he's in the zone he doesn't miss. He goes down the line, cross, forehand, backhand, he doesn't miss.
That's what is the most, the toughest part of playing against him. I think that's where I should be good also and that's where my game is good. Same answer.
So that's why some matches that we played are really I think unbelievable matches. I find them -- you know, few times I saw the highlights, and I was, like, Wow, this level is unbelievable. That's what I have to do to keep up with him on Sunday, because as we saw already yesterday and as he said, he's not gonna hand anything, so need to be at my best.
Q. All the best on Sunday, despite me being Serbian journalist. Novak has singled out your mental strength, and quote him precisely, "intelligence as one of the strongest feats in your game." Come Sunday, what do you think? Will this be like the most decisive factor in the matchup between the said qualities that you two portray? And is this, like, one of the most important assets that you have acquired since started playing against Novak a few years back?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, for sure. As I say, any time you play against a big three, especially for the first time against all of them, you understand, okay, this is another level, so you have to do something different, first of all, in practice, also, and in the match against them, to try to beat these guys.
That's what helps you also to beat other guys after or guys that are close to their level or maybe already are on their level. Of course I'm not talking about many (smiling) but some of them.
For sure Sunday, yeah, it's gonna be -- it's a Grand Slam final. Even if I have experience, I had only one. He knows better what it is. From what I saw on TV, intelligence, yeah, I mean, you throw everything out there. You never know if it's gonna be a dropshot or a lob or you have to serve kick or slice.
Every moment you're gonna have to make the best decision to try to win the match. So I think it's gonna be very important on Sunday.
Q. Just wondering how much have you seen of Novak so far this tournament? Obviously he's had a few dramas with injury and a few tough matches. What have you made with what you have seen?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I have seen a lot of matches from him because he plays in the evening and we are also in lockdown so I was watching the television. Actually didn't finish I think three of his matches because he was playing too late and I went to sleep.
Yeah, for sure, some controversies. Against Fritz, I went to sleep. I actually thought he was gonna lose because we saw he was in pain. He couldn't fake it to lose two sets. He was up. Next matches were for sure not easy. Against Sascha I went to sleep when he was down a break in the fourth. So was some crazy matches.
Yesterday he was on top of Aslan. And he said that he felt the best. So, yeah, so I don't expect anything easy in terms of his physical abilities on Sunday.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports