Novak Djokovic’s error-prone game against Daniil Medvedev in the group stages of the ATP Finals gave the latter belief to upstage the Serb, according to the Russian’s French coach, Gilles Cervara.
Medvedev was leading 5-3 in the opening set of the round-robin encounter at London’s O2 Arena when Djokovic committed three double faults.
The big Russian profited from the Serb’s unforced errors to record an emphatic 6-3, 6-3 win.
It was a crucial moment in the game, the proverbial turning point that saw the momentum shift decisively in favor of the Russian.
Weighing in on that moment in the game during a live show on French television, Medvedev’s coach said he was scribbling on his notebook at the time.
He said he was so absorbed in the moment that he couldn’t make notes but did scribble a ‘thank you’ as the Serb double-faulted.
“At 5-3 (in the opening set), I was focused on something else. I could no longer note but I remember that I mark(ed) ‘Thank you Djoko’,” the French coach said.
He even held up the page where he marked ‘thank you’ for the show hosts.
The Russian came into the Djokovic tie following a win over German Alexander Zverev. Not looking back after the Serb dropped the first set, Medvedev pulled away to a commanding victory.
Medvedev was the only one in the elite event, featuring the Top-8 in the ATP rankings, to have a hundred percent win record.
The Russian won all five of his matches to clinch his maiden ATP Finals trophy.
The French coach said that moment showed that the Serb, for all his Grand Slams and numerous other career Tour titles, was, after all, ‘human’.
“It’s still the Masters, he shows he’s human too,” Cervara said.
The French coach said Djokovic, perhaps, was not at his best on the day but that doesn’t take away from his pupil’s level of play in the group-stage tie.
“Was he (Djokovic) at his maximum level of determination? Is that what explains that at a given moment, he makes more mistakes than usual?
“Now that’s also down to Daniil’s strength and what he gives off,” said the Russian’s coach.
He said Medvedev’s game was the strongest as the tournament progressed.
The coach added that the Russian’s all-win record at the elite event was also proof of how he leveraged his title-winning form at the Paris Masters to lift the championship trophy in London.
(All quotes have been translated)