History-chasing Djokovic seeks revenge against Medvedev

Novak Djokovic celebrates after reaching the US Open finals
Novak Djokovic could become the oldest player to win the US Open men’s singles title in the Open Era (since 1968)
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 10 September Time: 21:00 BST
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary across the BBC Sport website, app, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra

Novak Djokovic will seek revenge for his 2021 US Open final loss to Daniil Medvedev aware victory would secure a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

The Serb, 36, is again within reach of Margaret Court’s all-time record, two months after losing to Carlos Alcaraz in a five-set thriller at Wimbledon.

“I understand every time in a Grand Slam final, it’s another shot for history,” Djokovic said.

“I’m aware of it, and of course I’m very proud of it,” he added.

“But I don’t have much time, nor do I allow myself to reflect on these things or think about the history too much.

“When I did that in the past, like the 2021 final here, I was maybe overwhelmed with the occasion and the opportunity, and I underperformed.

“I don’t want this to happen again. I’ll try to just focus on what needs to be done and tactically prepare myself for that match.”

Third seed Medvedev overcame Alcaraz in four sets to set up a repeat of the final he won in straight sets two years ago in New York.

On that occasion, the Russian’s 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory denied Djokovic a calendar Grand Slam – where a player wins all four majors in the same year.

While that feat is not on the line for three-time champion Djokovic, in what will be his 36th Grand Slam final on Sunday, Medvedev will once again aim to deny his rival a historic achievement.

Medvedev, 27, is through to his fifth Slam final – and third in New York – with his triumph in 2021 representing his only major title to date.

“I think the only way I can use [the 2021 final] is thinking that Novak, when he loses, he’s never the same after. He’s different. It’s just a different mentality,” Medvedev said.

“That’s why he has 23 Grand Slams, many Masters 1000s [titles] and weeks at number one,” he added.

“So I have to use it knowing that he’s going to be 10 times better than he was that day, and if I want to still beat him, I have to be 10 times better than I was that day. That’s what I’m going to try to do.

“Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday, and I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him.”

Djokovic v Medvedev head-to-head graphic: Djokovic (titles 95, career wins 1069, prize money $172m), Medvedev (titles 20, wins 316, prize money $32m)

Djokovic, whose 23 Grand Slams leave him one ahead of Rafael Nadal for overall titles in the men’s game, won the Australian Open and French Open this year before his Wimbledon final defeat by Alcaraz in July.

Guaranteed to return to world number one on Monday, it is the third time the Serb has reached the final at all four Slams in the same season.

He also managed that in 2015, losing only the French Open final to Stan Wawrinka, and 2021, when Medvedev stopped him at the final hurdle at Flushing Meadows.

“I’m obviously over the moon with the results so far in Grand Slams,” Djokovic said.

“Playing in all four finals of all four Slams in a season is amazing. It’s the highest achievement I can think about when I start the season.

“That’s what I dream about, that’s what I really wanted. That’s where I want to be, in this kind of position.

“There is another match left, so of course this conversation will be even better if I win the title. But whatever happens, I’m extremely proud and content with what I have achieved this year.”

Djokovic beat American Ben Shelton in straight sets in the semi-finals, ending home hopes in the men’s draw and mimicking the 20-year-old’s picking-up-a-phone celebration – which Shelton said represented him being “dialled in” – after clinching a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win.

He has won five of his six matches in straight sets at this tournament, but he had to fight back from two sets down against compatriot Laslo Djere in the third round.

Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Medvedev 9-5 but they have one win apiece on hard courts in 2023, with Medvedev prevailing 6-4 6-4 in Dubai in March after Djokovic won 6-3 6-4 in Adelaide.

The winner of Sunday’s men’s singles final, which takes place after the women’s doubles final (not before 21:00 BST), will earn $3m (£2.4m).

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