Next Gen ATP Finals: Djokovic protégé Medjedovic rules

 - Alex Sharp

The Serbian joins Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas on the Roll of Honour.

Arthur Fils & Hamad Medjedovic / Finale Masters Next Gen©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Hamad Medjedovic is a name you'll get used to seeing in the latter stages of tournaments.

The 20-year-old has the backing of one of the all-time greats, Novak Djokovic knows talent when he sees it.

The Serbian youngster shot to prominence by qualifying for his maiden Grand Slam main draw at Roland-Garros and he replicated that feat at Wimbledon too.

2023 has witnessed Medjedovic pick up three ATP Challenger titles, as well as reaching two semi-finals on the top tier of the ATP Tour. Pretty impressive.

Medjedovic, coached by former world No.12 Viktor Troicki, has now capped his breakout season in style with a trophy lift at the Next Gen ATP Finals. Pretty impressive.

Nole the mentor

Medjedovic revealed that his compatriot Djokovic is significantly contributing to his career funds.

“Novak has been helping me out financially. Giving me whatever I need for my career. He covered it all. He just helped me out when I needed it and is still helping me out in all types of ways," the 20-year-old explained in October.

"He is a legend because he is always available for advice.”

Fast forward to last week in Jeddah and Djokovic was sending messages of support to his countryman. Saturday's triumph means Serbia can celebrate champions in both men's season-ending tournaments after Djokovic collected a record seventh ATP Finals crown in Turin.

"Two of us from Serbia. He won the big Masters, the real one, and I won the Next Gen," added Medjedovic in Jeddah. "Obviously, it's a huge thing and I'm happy to follow in his footsteps in some way."

Undefeated to rule the roost

Since its induction in 2017, the Next Gen ATP Finals is the season finale for the top performers on Tour aged 21 and under.

The Top 10 trio of Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas are previous champions, indicating the future is very bright for the Serbian.

His blistering week started with a five-set triumph over American Alex Michelsen (the event has a best-of-five set format with four games winning a set). The world No. 110 then dispatched both No.2 seed Luca Van Assche and Jordanian Abedallah Shelbayh in four sets.

Into the semi-finals and Medjedovic led Dominic Stricker 4-3(5), 2-1 before a retirement curtailed the contest.

Utilising his booming serve and capabilities across the court, the Serbian recovered from surrendering two match points in the fourth set to navigate past world No.36 Arthur Fils 3-4(6), 4-1, 4-2, 3-4(9), 4-1.

"I can't believe I have won this title," said Medjedovic. "Arthur is an amazing player - he's top 40 for a reason - so I'm really happy. It means a lot.

"To know that all the great (Next Gen) champions, it gives you a lot of confidence and a boost for next season.

“I have a big game and big shots but I still have a lot of things to work on with my coach. Physically I need to get much better and I will use pre-season for this and I need to improve my focus on the court more. I will be coming into next year with a lot of confidence."

With Troicki and Djokovic in his corner, Medjedovic is certainly one to watch in 2024.