Mendoza: Mercurial Medvedev’s acid test

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

I SPOKE too soon. It is Daniil Medvedev of Russia and not Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece battling Novak Djokovic of Serbia today for the Australian Open men’s crown.

Medvedev is in the finals via a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 win over Tsitsipas, who shocked Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Sorry for the slip. As penalty, no beer for me tonight.

Records easily point to Djokovic easily defeating Medvedev in Melbourne on Sunday.

Djokovic owns 17 Grand Slams, Medvedev has none.

Djokovic’s eight Slams came in the Australian Open, where he is a perfect 8-0 in the finals.

Medvedev being considered as one of the hottest players in the circuit today seems to be the only plus side for the Russian, who started his remarkable ascent to the Top 10 some two years ago.

After winning the Paris Masters in October 2020, beating Alexander Zverev, Medvedev next topped the ATP Finals. In doing so, he became the first to defeat the world’s top three in any ATP Finals event since the ATP Tour’s inception in 1990.

The year before, Medvedev reached the 2019 US Open finals, losing to Rafael Nadal but not after putting up a gallant fight in an epic five-setter.

Talented that he is, the mercurial Medvedev grappled with his tantrums early on.

In 2016, Wikipedia said Medvedev was disqualified in Georgia, USA, for comments he made after the umpire, Sandy French, ruled on a shot in favor of his opponent, Donald Young.

Saying that Young and French, who are both African-Americans, were friends, Medvedev was disqualified for “questioning the impartiality of the umpire based on her race.”

In 2017 Wimbledon, Medvedev was fined thrice totaling $14,500 for bad behavior in his match against Ruben Bemelmans. He was fined $7,000 for twice insulting the umpire and $7,500 for throwing coins under the umpire’s chair.

After mellowing a bit, Medvedev defeated Djokovic in the 2019 Monte Carlo, repeating the feat in that year’s Western & Southern Open en route to winning his first Masters title.

Then he got fined again for $5,000 in that year’s US Open for unsportsmanlike conduct against Feliciano Lopez and $4,000 for obscenity. Then came his five-set loss to Nadal after winning the third and fourth sets.

And now, Medvedev is a finalist again, which precedes his recent ATP Cup crown triumph as Russia Team’s spearhead, going 4-0 in singles.

Can Medvedev, 25, grab his first Slam at the expense of Djokovic, 33?

Depends on his temper.