Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev were the main favorites for reaching the Australian Open final and fighting for the season's first Major crown. Djokovic had to work hard in four out of six matches before the title clash, spending a lot of time on the court and struggling with an abdomen injury that gathered dark clouds over his entire campaign.
On the other hand, Medvedev had won 20 consecutive matches before the Djokovic clash, conquering the Paris Masters, the ATP Finals and the ATP Cup and gathering a boost ahead of the Australian Open. The Russian played well in the opening six matches, hoping for more of the same against the Serb but experiencing a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 loss in an hour and 53 minutes to propel Djokovic towards the 18th Major crown!
Delivering impressive tennis on both serve and return, Novak grabbed the opening set in the closing stages and sailed towards the finish line, playing better and better as the match progressed to leave the second-time Major finalist far behind.
Speaking about the final, Marin Cilic mentioned the pressure that Novak mounted on Daniil from the opening point, using his vast experience and challenging the opponent always to play an extra shot and lose a lot of energy and stamina.
Marin Cilic praised Novak Djokovic's Australian Open performance vs. Medvedev.
"I would say, for example, Rafa and Novak are pretty similar in their intensity. They play every single point like it's a match point.
Roger is more focused on changing pace and speed, relying a lot on a fast game, great serve, great forehand, you know, just mixing up the game and playing aggressive tennis. Roger's movement and sharpness are incredible.
Novak and Rafa are the best in tennis that creates pressure. For example, if you watched the Australian Open final against Medvedev. Novak put pressure on Daniil from the first point, and it's a constant one. You are always feeling like he's pushing you.
When you Major matches against them, you have to follow their pace for four or five hours. Alongside their abilities, that's the crucial element why they are so successful at Majors," says Marin Cilic.