Medvedev the master with ATP Finals title

The Russian landed the most significant trophy of his career with another riveting recovery from a set down to oust Dominic Thiem.

Daniil Medvedev ATP Finals 2020©Ella Ling / ATP Tour
 - Alex Sharp

Talk about a turn around. 

Daniil Medvedev’s 2019 debut at the ATP Finals curtailed his campaign on a sour note, with three defeats in the group stages sending him home on an early flight.

12 months on, bouncing back from a mediocre season by his sublime standards, the 24-year-old motored through the round robin with Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic and then Diego Schwartzman falling to his unorthodox on-court concoction.

The world No.4 then claimed a sensational maiden victory over Rafael Nadal from a set down, before repeating the feat 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in Sunday’s final against Dominic Thiem.

It’s the Russian’s biggest title of his soaring career, amassing 1500 ranking points for his undefeated week, Medvedev has also sent out his biggest signal of intent to disrupt the order at the top. 

To emphasise the scale of his accomplishment, Medvedev is the first player ever to defeat the world No.1 (Djokovic), No.2 (Nadal) and No.3 (Thiem) to lift the ATP Finals trophy.

Means a lot. Shows what I'm capable of when I'm feeling good mentally, physically. Just I need to produce it more and more and hopefully more matches like this,” declared Medvedev, embracing a shift in the upper echelons of men’s tennis.

From Dominic, from me, especially if we talk just about this tournament, we managed both to beat Rafa and Novak, which is amazing accomplishment. Hopefully all of us young guys will keep continue pushing, will have some great rivalries.

We all already played a lot of matches together. I think I played a lot against Stefanos (Tsitsipas), Zverev and Dominic. The matches like today, the matches at US Open, because I don't want to focus only on my win, if we have a lot of matches like this, we definitely going to push each other through all our careers, and hopefully everybody will get a piece of the cake.

The 24-year-old, unbeaten in 10 matches in November having won the Rolex Paris Masters, is adamant his title double at the close of 2020 can boost his 2021 major moves.

Especially the last two matches I won are just unbelievable. I think it can give me a lot for my future career,” mused Medvedev.

To beat Dominic the way he played today and to manage to beat him is probably my best victory of my life. Not even talking about the title itself. To win a Masters, being undefeated, honestly, I know I can play good, but I would not believe it if you would tell me this before the tournament. So, a great boost of confidence for all the Slams coming up and all the tournaments. 

“Then when you have this sort of confidence, you just need to know how to keep it. And I think I do know how to do it, especially looking back at last year also where I had six finals in a row. So now the question is how to find it faster sometimes.

Nostalgia swept across social media on Sunday evening amongst players, fans and journalists, with the 12th and last instalment of the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in east London.

Russian Nikolay Davydenko defeated US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro to be hailed champion in 2009 and in an apt piece of symmetry, his compatriot Medvedev has defeated US Open champion Thiem in the 2020 season finale.

I actually didn't know, but Davydenko commented on my match on Russian TV and then I managed to talk to him just after the match. I was so surprised and so happy because he was one of my idols when I was growing up,” stated Medvedev.

The 50th anniversary of the ATP Finals had a week fitting for the occasion and a proper send off for London. Two players facing off in fantastic form and they delivered a five-star finale. 

The Austrian’s swashbuckling power play edged the opener. Then Medvedev mixed it up, having put on a tactical masterclass all week.

This time 20 ventures to the net enjoyed a 75 per cent success rate, heaping the pressure on an increasingly forlorn Thiem. Medvedev was a wall of defiance, combined with his sneak attacks to the net and seven successive points snatched away the second set tie-break. 

Chances kept coming and going but Medvedev finally inflicted a break for 3-2 in the decider, his patience and persistence rewarded. A few more staccato swings of the racket and the world no.4 ruled London. 

Despite losing out in the trophy showdown for the second consecutive season, Thiem was gracious in defeat following another gladiatorial effort.

Super impressive. If you look at the whole tournament he definitely deserved that title,” insisted Thiem, who is very proud of his 2020 accomplishments. 

If I speak about the tennis, if I speak about my job, it has been an outstanding year. I have reached one of my big lifetime goals with winning that Grand Slam. So even though it's a tough year, it will always have a special place in my heart this year, 100%.

“It was still a very intense year, since the tour returned was super intense, so I haven't set myself any goals yet for next year. 

“I was playing great and had deep runs in many, many big tournaments. That's what I want to do as well next year. Of course, I want to climb up the rankings. But there are I think six, seven guys who will fight for the top spots the next years. I think for tennis it's some exciting times are coming ahead.