Daniil Medvedev was Novak Djokovic's closest rival in 2021, playing against the Serb in two Major finals and hoping to pass him and conquer the ATP throne. The Russian had a couple of slim chances to dethrone Novak but did not use them, and he got another after taking 3360 points in Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open.
Medvedev toppled Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the US Open final to secure the first Major trophy and move 2000 points behind the Serb in the ATP Race. Novak decided to skip Indian Wells and take more time off the court after losing the match that could have secured the calendar Grand Slam for him, and Daniil had a chance to reduce the deficit even more in the desert.
Instead of seeking another title, Medvedev lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round in Indian Wells, taking home 90 points and pretty much losing any chance to finish the season as the year-end no. 1. Recharging batteries and feeling eager to secure the record-breaking seventh year-end no.
1 honor, Djokovic returned to action in Paris and claimed the 37th Masters 1000 crown to cement the ultimate ranking honor and keep Medvedev behind him ahead of 2022. Speaking about his chances of becoming world no. 1 this year, Daniil said it was almost all over after Indian Wells, as he did not expect Novak to lose such a massive advantage in Paris or Turin.
Daniil Medvedev is Novak Djokovic's closest rival in 2021.
In the final of the Paris Masters, Novak topped Daniil 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes, overcoming the opening set to secure the first Masters 1000 trophy since Rome last year.
Djokovic saved seven out of ten break chances and stole the rival's serve five times from six opportunities to forge the crucial gap. Novak built a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, taming the rival's serve and rushing to the net to break the rival's rhythm and cross the finish line in style.
Medvedev and Djokovic will lead the groups at the ATP Finals in Turin, and they could meet for the fourth time in 2021. "To be honest, I never thought about passing Novak. After the US Open, it could have gotten into my mind had I won the Indian Wells title. That was not the case, and I can not think about that, knowing how strong Novak is," Daniil Medvedev said.