Daniil Medvedev’s Coach Recalls Penning ‘Thank You’ to Error-prone Novak Djokovic at ATP Finals

Published 11/29/2020, 4:58 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 22, 2020 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts during his final match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

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.


Article continues below this ad

Novak Djokovic handed group stage’s opening set to Daniil Medvedev on a platter

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.


Article continues below this ad

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.

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 21, 2020 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his semi-final match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Toby Melville

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.


Daniil Medvedev Reveals His Pre-Match Regime to Run From the Stress

about 2 years ago

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.

A Djokovic error that shifted momentum in Medvedev’s favor

“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.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Medvedev Daniil (@medwed33)


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.

Many firsts for Medvedev in maiden ATP Finals title win

He also became only the fourth player in tennis history to beat the Top-3 – Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem – in a single event.

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.

When Daniil’s strength felled Djokovic

“Was he (Djokovic) at his maximum level of determination? Is that what explains that at a given moment, he makes more mistakes than usual? 


Article continues below this ad

“Now that’s also down to Daniil’s strength and what he gives off,” said the Russian’s coach.

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 18, 2020 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev celebrates during his group stage match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

He said Medvedev’s game was the strongest as the tournament progressed.


Article continues below this ad

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)



Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.