Daniil Medvedev discusses Novak Djokovic’s ‘different mentality’ and ‘why he has 23 Slams’

Novak Djokovic on fire at the US Open

Daniil Medvedev has discussed how Novak Djokovic is “never the same” after losses and argued his “different mentality” is why he is a 23-time major champion.

The 20-time ATP titlist also claimed he will need to be “10 times better” than he was in the 2021 US Open final if he wants to defeat the Serb in Sunday’s repeat final.

Medvedev downed Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the title match at Flushing Meadows two years ago to claim his only major crown to date.

The world No 3 holds a 5-9 record against the 36-year-old, with Djokovic having won four of the pair’s five clashes since their previous New York meeting. He did, though, win the duo’s last encounter in straight sets in Dubai in March this year.

The 27-year-old overcame defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in four sets in the semi-finals of the 2023 US Open on Friday.

In his post-match press conference after beating Alcaraz, Medvedev was asked how he will use the 2021 final in his mental preparation for Sunday’s rematch.

“I think the only way I can use it is, as I say, thinking that Novak, when he loses, he’s never the same after. So he’s different. It’s just a different mentality. That’s why he has 23 Grand Slams, whatever Masters 1000s, weeks at No 1,” said the Russian.

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

Medvedev also reflected on his strongest memory from his final triumph in 2021.

“The strongest memory is the last serve, because I did some double faults, I think two or three double faults on the match points, on important points. 40-15 double fault and 40-30, I have to make this serve and then play the point,” recalled the 2021 US Open winner.

“I hit the serve. I kind of see in my opinion that it’s done. I see him far from the ball and somehow he touches the ball and it almost went over, ‘Oh, my God. It didn’t went over.’ That was a big memory.”

The 27-year-old also revealed he does not have a particular routine for the day before major finals as he prepares to play his fifth title match at tennis’ highest level.

“Not really. I would say – no, not really. I’m going to have a practice at the same time I did all the time but not because of the superstitions but because is good time to have some sleep-in but also have some time in the evening,” he explained.

“So no, I’m going to do all the same. It’s just the mental preparation where you’re, like, you want to go to war, you know. You want to fight till the end, you want to win, and that’s how you should be in the final of a Grand Slam.”

READ MORE: Daniil Medvedev ‘happy’ he ‘managed to get in Carlos Alcaraz’s head’

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