When Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open last Sunday, all attention immediately shifted to young stars, notably Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev. The New York Slam represents perhaps the best chance for this trio to win the first major of their career, also thanks to the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (in addition to Djokovic’s premature departure).
Thiem and Medvedev will face each other in the most anticipated semifinal. Their rivalry is still in its infancy, being only their fourth match against each other, but former World number 1 Mats Wilander believes that the Austrian and the Russian have all it takes to enter the heart.
of fans in the future. Thiem was the player to come closest to winning a Grand Slam, losing all three of his finals to date (two against Nadal at Roland Garros and one against Djokovic at the Australian Open 2020). Wilander compared the rivalry between Medvedev and Thiem to that between Nadal and Djokovic.
Wilander on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
“I think this match has the potential to shape men’s tennis for the next few years, I really do, because they are so completely different,” Mats Wilander said.
“The way they play can be extremely attractive, Thiem hits the ball hard while Medvedev will absorb and run, play smart and serve. The contrast in style is incredible. There’s a little bit of Rafael Nadal versus Novak Djokovic in contrast of style I suppose.
I think it has the potential to become a great rivalry. To be honest, I think Thiem is the better player but I don’t like the match-up for him,” Wilander added. "I think the match-up suits Medvedev. I would put money on Medvedev; he has a better chance of somehow wearing down Thiem’s patience than Thiem has of blowing Medvedev away”.
Nadal and Djokovic have faced each other 55 times with Djokovic leading 29–26. Djokovic leads 15–11 in finals. Of these matches, 15 have been in Grand Slams with Nadal leading 9–6. Nadal leads 6–1 at the French Open and 2–1 at the US Open, while Djokovic leads 2-0 at the Australian Open and 2–1 at Wimbledon.
Of their 55 matches, 27 have been on hard courts, 24 have been on clay, and 4 have been on grass. Nadal leads on clay (17–7), while Djokovic has the edge on hard courts (20–7). They are tied on grass (2–2).