Daniil Medvedev warned over friendship that is ‘only helping’ Novak Djokovic

Daniil Medvedev reacts to US Open win over Novak Djokovic

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Daniil Medvedev has been warned that his friendship with Novak Djokovic could hinder his results. The pair have established a strong rivalry this season, facing off in two Grand Slam finals and winning one each. They have also enjoyed a warm relationship off the court, spending time together and practising at recent events including the Paris Masters and ATP Finals in Turin.

Djokovic and Medvedev are the top two players in the world rankings, and the only two to win Grand Slam titles this year.

Their three meetings in 2021 have all come in big finals – the Australian Open, US Open and Paris Masters.

Although the world No 1 got the better of the 25-year-old in Australia, it was Medvedev who ended Djokovic’s Calendar Grand Slam hopes in the US Open final, defeating him in straight sets to lift his maiden Major title.

The highest-ranked players in men’s tennis have since enjoyed spending some time together and practicing with one another off the court, but the Russian has now been warned that the friendship can only help Djokovic and hinder him.

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“I am not sure I necessarily like that Novak and Daniill are hanging out and practising together,” seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander admitted.

The retired pro-turned-pundit said he thought the Serb would likely gain an advantage from their friendly relationship, while Medvedev could suffer in their head-to-head as a result.

He continued: “I think this [relationship] is great for Novak in the long run.

“Novak learns a lot about his opponents by practising with them, and I think Daniil is going to learn that Novak is the greatest player of all time by practising with him. So I think it can only help Novak.”

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Djokovic and Medvedev practised together ahead of the recent Paris Masters, and it was the world No 1 who got the better of the Russian in the final.

Although Wilander warned the world No 2 over his newfound friendship with Djokovic, the Swedish tennis star was excited for their rivalry next season and declared that Medvedev had officially “arrived.”

“I think Daniil Medvedev has arrived. He’s going to be at the top of the game for the next five or six years, if nothing physical happens to him,” Wilander added.

He also noted that the US Open champion’s “unorthodox” groundstrokes were “really difficult to know if it takes a lot of effort.”

Opening up on what he thinks will be “the big rivalry of [20]’22”, the Eurosport presenter also said he thought Medvedev’s chances against Djokovic would depend on the surface they played on, as the 25-year-old’s results on clay and grass noticeably lag behind his results on hard court.

“I do think that it comes down to the surface very much,” he said.

“How does he like the surface this last week of the year? Is the bounce not too high? If the bounce is low, I think he has a really good chance. If the bounce is a little higher, the top spin is going to kick up. That might be a heavy week for him.

“But he seems to be a marathon man that can go forever. Very rarely have I seen him be exhausted physically.”
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