What Daniil Medvedev Needs to Do in Order to Beat Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open 2021 Final?

Published 02/20/2021, 11:30 AM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia congratulates Daniil Medvedev of Russia after their match during the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


Faced with one of the toughest challenges in the sport, Daniil Medvedev will lock horns with the defending champion Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Australian Open final.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Having reached the Australian Open final eight times, Djokovic has triumphed on each occasion, which explains the daunting task ahead of Medvedev.

Despite suffering from an abdominal tear midway in the tournament, Djokovic overcame the pain barrier and found his best tennis in the semifinals, defeating Aslan Karatsev in straight sets.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his semi final match against Russia’s Aslan Karatsev REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

At the other end, Medvedev is riding on an impressive 20-match winning streak, with 12 of those wins coming against Top-1o players.

Having played one Grand Slam final before at the 2019 US Open, Medvedev has some experience of the pressure it brings.

With Medvedev aiming to win his maiden Grand Slam title, here’s what he needs to do to defeat the most successful man in Australian Open history, Novak Djokovic.

Service games

Medvedev has served impeccably throughout the tournament and hammered 17 aces during his semifinal win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Up against the best returner in the game, the No.4 seed needs to keep his first serve percentage high as Djokovic will look to attack Medvedev’s second serve.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his fourth round match against Mackenzie McDonald of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

The Russian will have to shift his serve placement and use the body serve effectively to keep Djokovic guessing. Going into the final, winning a high percentage of first-serve points will be crucial for Medvedev.

Return

Notably, Djokovic has served equally well and his powerful serve has helped him win a lot of free points. For Medvedev, it will be important to return deep into the court and hit harder to reduce Djokovic’s reaction time.

Any return which lands in the service box will be a treat for Djokovic, as he will punish the ball by picking it early and hitting a wide-angled winner.

Rallies

Here’s the hardest task, to outlast Djokovic, Medvedev will have to battle him from the back of the court. In order to do so, Medvedev should play closer to the baseline and use his powerful flat backhand to move Djokovic around the court.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his semi final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Kelly Defina

To disrupt Djokovic’s rhythm, Medvedev should use the slice backhand and drop shots to his advantage and shorten the rallies by coming to the net more often.

Medvedev’s unconventional shot-making and stamina to indulge in long rallies make him a fierce competitor. Apart from the game, Medvedev will have to keep his nerves in control and play with composure.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Having beaten Djokovic thrice in their seven meetings, Medvedev possesses the game to trouble Djokovic. However, with an 8-0 record in Australian Open finals, Djokovic is the clear favorite.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Kshitij Tayal

366 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT