November 18, 2020
London, England, UK
D. MEDVEDEV/N. Djokovic
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Djokovic is a very good rallier. You have rallied with him before. Did you sense any weakness from him tonight on his returns?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I think he was not playing his best. But, you know, as we know, playing against Big 3, even when they are not at their best, it's tough to win. So you need to finish the match.
I knew it after last year of course also. I knew I had to stay there. I was serving pretty well. It helped me because still second set, even when I was up a break, there were some tough moments. He had one breakpoint also.
So I'm happy about my performance. Was very solid. Yes, still, as I said, I had to finish the match, which I have done.
Q. Just sort of going off of that, obviously we know Novak is one of the best returners ever, but he did struggle to sort of make his returns. But he always sort of stayed closer to the baseline while you were sort of staying back and making more returns. Were you surprised that he never maybe tried to change it up and move back or anything like that?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I mean, as you say, he's one of the best returners in the world. I think it's also that here in London it's not easy to return. You see every match it's tough to break people.
I mean, tough for me to say for him, you know. Was I surprised? I'm not sure what to answer. I'm definitely happy that he didn't change it, but not sure that if he would change it it would be better for him.
The thing is, yeah, when you're in the tennis match, it's tough sometimes to change something, because that's something he has done all his life. That's something where he's good at.
So imagine he would go back and then lose the match, then he would be doubting in his head -- I say it from my point of view -- that maybe he should have stayed closer and maybe he would have the chance.
It's always a game of decisions, tennis, and we will never know if it was a good one from him or not.
Q. Were you surprised in a way the way you found him? I mean, did you try to give any explanation of when you see someone who is not playing well, you don't care, you just stick to yourself and that's it? You don't ask anything to yourself?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah. As I said before, you know, everybody has bad days. I don't know what happened. Maybe he was just not feeling confident enough. I don't know. Because I can say that in the beginning of the match I was not feeling good on the court. I made some mistakes. I was not playing deep enough. So I was not happy about myself.
But I felt that I have the opportunity, so I knew I had to, yeah, as you say, stick to myself, serve good, which I was during all the match. Just try to put pressure on him. He was missing some balls, so I knew I had to put a lot of balls in the court.
There were some moments where I was not happy with myself. Like passing shots, for example, I was putting them on him even if I didn't want to. So as I say, it's very tough to beat the Big 3 on any day, but you have to, yeah, stay solid and that's what I did.
Q. I think it's your third win over Novak. Is that the best, considering what's just been said, is that the best that you feel you have played against him? He said to ask you that. Obviously it must be very satisfying to be in the semis this year compared to your debut last year.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, of course. I will start with the end. Of course really happy, because after last year, you're 0-3, the match against Rafa, so you always have doubts in your head like maybe next year is going to be last year in London, I'm going to go out there and be tight, again, I'm not going to show anything in the Masters finals.
Well, not the case. Finished No. 1 in the group already, which is great. Of course I'm going to try to win my third match.
Talking about matches against Novak, because tough to say, because as we saw still it was not the best match from him. And I remember, for example, playing, losing two matches against him in Australia, one in Australian Open two years ago and one in ATP Cup this year, and I felt like I was playing unbelievable there but I lost the matches.
Cincinnati was also a good one I won. So tough to compare. Of course I'm really happy that I managed to beat him three times, which is important. Of course considering the score and the way the match went, this one was easiest one. So maybe we can call it the best one but not in terms of level of play.
Q. As you said, you obviously finished first, which also means you will play either against Rafa or Stefanos. I wonder if you have any preference who you'd rather want to play?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, to be honest, not really. Both are tough opponents. I lost against both of them last year, so from both sides it's gonna be an interesting match against Stefanos. We have this rivalry. We are both young. We're gonna have probably a lot of matches to come, so always fun to play against him in many ways. Sometimes in bad ways; sometimes in good ways.
Rafa is one of the best tennis players in the history of sport. Of course I want to get the win against Rafa. I still don't have.
So, yeah, as I say, no matter who I play, I'm gonna be happy to face him.
Q. I'm working on a story about Olga Sharypova who is the former girlfriend of Sascha Zverev, who I believe you have known for a long time and your wife has been friends with for a while. Curious what you make of her story. I'm guessing you have heard it. And what you think the ATP should do about this whole situation.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, for sure tough topic. I mean, as you say, yeah, my wife knows her for long time. I mean, not for such a long time. More while she was traveling around the tour.
You know, what I can say for sure is I'm against abuse in any means. Of course especially how it's called domestic abuse.
After it's more question to, yeah, as you say, ATP. Sascha, of course, because, well, that's story about him and his ex-girlfriend. I can only say, yeah, that I'm against abuse, but I don't know the details.
Q. Do you think the ATP should investigate this more?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I don't know actually the rules. Yeah, as I say, I mean, I know the rules because I know that many companies it has to go to police, I think, which I don't know if she will do or not. So tough for me to say.
Actually, I don't know what statement did they make about this.
Q. I just want to ask you about the 3-3 game with Novak. It was a real struggle for a while in that match. Looked like neither player really had control. In your mind, how important was that for you to win that game? Is there an art or a trick to turning a game like that into seven consecutive games like you did?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, to be honest, as you said, you know, I had 15-40 in the game before I think at 2-All. I was not so happy about some shots and decisions I was making, but as we saw, yeah, he was struggling also either about my game, against my game on this surface or about himself on the court.
So I knew I had to stay in there, and at 3-All I had 15-40 again. Again, two points where I could have done better many things. Coming back to deuce, against Novak, one of the Big 3, you have to take these chances, but every time you're at deuce, the most important is stay there as much as you can, put pressure on your opponent, make him miss first serves. If he makes it, try to put the ball in play.
I'm not sure if he had any advantage for him, this game. If he had that, I made good job to come back to deuce to put pressure on him. And finally actually a breakpoint was a great point where we had a long rally and I managed to finish it in a good way.
And that's, yeah, when I started to feel more confident, because, yeah, when you step up, you start to go for better shots. Next game I remember I made some winners. You have new balls to serve. All is advantage to you.
Then you start the second set. Not easy. He just lost three games in a row. So, yeah, putting pressure all the time on your opponent and even against big champions like Novak it can work.
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