The absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from the 2021 US Open has had several consequences. The most natural is to focus even more the spotlight on Novak Djokovic, who has the opportunity not only to hit the "Calendar Grand Slam" but to overtake the other two members of the big-three in the number of Majors won in his career.
Secondly, he gave the possibility (for purely logical reasons) to several semi-unknown players on the big stages to advance in the tournament. Think of Otte who reached the round of 16 against Berrettini starting from the qualifiers or the Dutch Botic van de Zandschulp, beaten by no.
2 of the world Daniil Medvedev. According to Tiafoe, Federer and Nadal's forfeits pushed them to give more, which did not have the same effect on the 25-year-old Russian.
Medvedev on Federer and Nadal
Daniil Medvedev defeated Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the US Open for the third consecutive year.
Frances Tiafoe had claimed earlier in the week that the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from this year's US Open had given the rest of the players added motivation. "I don't feel it," the Russian said.
"I think for me it's actually more about that when they were a bit younger or even few years ago, we always saw them in semis. They were in the top four so they couldn't meet each other before semis, and almost all the Grand Slams they were in semis.
So they were taking all the spots, just because they are the greatest in the history of tennis. They are amazing tennis players. I don't care if Roger or Rafa is here," the 25-year-old said. "I want to win the tournament.
It's going to be tougher if they were here, and of course it would be tougher if they would be 30 years old. But I just want to do my best, so I don't care if they are here or not." The Russian did admit, however, that breaking into the top 10 and top 5 of the rankings has been easier with the advancing age of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
"Yeah, of course now Rafa and Roger, as we see, are getting a little bit older, playing a little bit less tournaments, more injured," Daniil Medvedev said. "Before it was even tougher, because, yeah, it depends which breakthrough you're talking about.
To be in the top 100 or top 10 or top 5. So before the top 5 was basically taken by three of them. So there were two spots left."