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Medvedev: "We can only change our present and future"

  • Ravi Ubha & Ursin Caderas

Leading Rafael Nadal by two sets and holding three straight break points at 3-2 in the third in last year’s Australian Open final, Daniil Medvedev raced towards a second consecutive Grand Slam title.  

Even with Nadal’s pedigree and never-say-die attitude, few would have predicted a comeback from the much older Spaniard — most pundits had favoured Medvedev from the outset. 

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But Nadal hung on and subsequently outlasted his towering foe in nearly five-and-a-half hours, three years after Medvedev nearly pulled off a two-set comeback against the behemoth “Big Three” member in the US Open final. 

He fell short. That one lasted close to five hours. 

Two huge blows to Medvedev and he admitted that forgetting AO 2022’s conclusion proved difficult.

MORE: All the scores from Day 3 at AO 2023 

“After a week or two, I kind of tried to forget about it, because, well, we can’t change our past,” Medvedev told “That’s definitely the truth. We can only change our present and our future."

“I think it did affect me in a negative way,” he admitted following a second-round win over Queenslander John Millman on Wednesday.

“Just losing this final is not easy, especially in the context that I won the previous slam and I was really close to winning the second one.”

MORE: Australian Open 2023 men's singles draw

Medvedev still climbed to No.1 at the end of February but didn’t make another final until the grass-court swing in June.

He did, however, undergo hernia surgery in between; such an unintended stoppage is never easy for players. 

Usually thriving on the North American hardcourts, Medvedev exited prior to the quarterfinals at both the Canada Masters and as the defending champion at the US Open — though both losses came against the supremely talented Nick Kyrgios.

An adductor injury prompted a retirement against Novak Djokovic in early October in Astana. 

By season’s end he fell to seventh and slipped another spot to eighth ahead of AO 2023. 

“A little bit tough to talk about the season,” Medvedev said. “You never know what went wrong, but for sure a great reset to come here. I'm enjoying the crowd. I'm enjoying being here.”

“Adelaide was super special even against Novak.”

Medvedev fell in straight sets to the nine-time Australian Open winner in early January at the Adelaide International yet it didn’t stop the pair — who get along — from hitting last week.

They are both fathers, Medvedev becoming a dad for the first time in October. 

READ: Medvedev determined to add to his Australian Open story

REPORT: Medvedev switched on against Giron

“You have to practise with someone, and you want to practise with stronger opponents because that's where you get the most test out of yourself,” he said.

“We managed to practise just a few days after our match and it was a lot of fun.”

Daniil Medvedev following his match at AO23 against John Millman

Medvedev knows he can only face Djokovic in the final this tournament, since they sit in opposite halves of the draw. A possible rematch with Nadal beforehand fizzled when an ailing Nadal departed earlier Wednesday at the hands of Mackenzie McDonald

He is fully aware of Djokovic’s imposing record — 22 straight wins — at Melbourne Park. 

“It’s tough to beat him here,” said Medvedev, a runner-up to the Serb in 2021.

“You never know if you want to be the one to try and take the challenge or if you want someone else to do the job because the guy is pretty unbeatable at this moment in Australia. 

“But at the same time, especially knowing that Novak is not in my part of the draw, if I have to face him it’s going to be in the final. It’s great challenge to have.” 

And it was Medvedev who scuppered Djokovic’s hopes of achieving the calendar-year Grand Slam in New York in 2021. 

His more immediate challenge stems from 29th seed Sebastian Korda.

Korda stands only two centimetres shorter than Medvedev’s 198-cm frame but they possess different styles. 

Medvedev smothers rivals from the baseline while Korda owns an all-court game. They share the ability to wallop serves, however. 

Korda trumped Medvedev by storming to the Adelaide final, where he held a match point on Djokovic.

“I'm feeling really confident, really motivated to try to do a better season this year,” said Medvedev. “It all starts here like every year. So looking forward again to my next matches.”