'Novak Djokovic was the better player in the Australian Open final,' says Medvedev

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'Novak Djokovic was the better player in the Australian Open final,' says Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev had a chance to become world no. 2 for the first time this week, standing close to Rafael Nadal but suffering an early Rotterdam loss to Dusan Lajovic. Before the match, Daniil spoke about the Australian Open final encounter against Novak Djokovic, praising the Serb and saying that Novak played on a much higher level to deserve the crown.

It was the second Major final for the Russian and the second defeat, staying strong in the opener before the Serb produced a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 53 minutes to celebrate the ninth Melbourne Park title! Novak had spent three and a half hours under a boiling Melbourne sun in round two against Frances Tiafoe before experiencing an abdomen injury against another young American Taylor Fritz in the third round.

Winning the opening two sets, Novak slid over the Melbourne-sign paint at the beginning of the third set and injured his stomach muscle, playing with a lot of pain and losing sets three and four before bouncing back in the decider to escape and remain in contention.

Unsure whether he would play the next match against Milos Raonic, Novak couldn't practice after that victory over Fritz, raising doubts over his campaign and drawing media attention. Not at his best, Djokovic defeated Raonic in four sets, playing on a high level in sets three and four and gathering many comments about his injury's nature.

Daniil Medvedev spoke about the Australian Open final and his loss to Novak Djokovic.

Unhappy with the treatment, Novak refused to speak about his injury from that moment, doing his best to recover and beating Alexander Zverev, Aslan Karatsev and Daniil Medvedev to extend his Melbourne reign.

The Serb hit 20 winners and 17 unforced errors against Medvedev, losing serve twice and dominating the return with seven breaks on his tally from 11 opportunities. At 5-5 in the opener, Djokovic held at love and broke Medvedev in the next game when the Russian netted a forehand, taking the set 6-4 in 42 minutes and sailing towards the finish line from there.

"I for sure thought about the final a bit, actually more discussed with my coach and my team. First, I have to say that Novak played on a very high level. I won the previous 20 matches, but it wasn't enough to have a chance against him, as he did everything right on the court and moved me away from the ideal position.

If we played again, I would have done things differently in terms of tactics; still, that's not possible, and Novak won the match because he was the better player," Daniil Medvedev said.