What went wrong in 2021 Australian Open final?

What went wrong?


  • Total voters
    65

UnforcedTerror

Professional
Djokovic vs Medveded was the final that everybody wanted as Medvedev was expected to push Djokovic to the limit. If you asked Djokovic fans before the tournament, who do you want Djokovic to avoid, they would say Medvedev with no hesitation. If Djokovic haters were asked, who is the player you want Djokovic to face, they would've said Medvedev with an evil smile on their faces.

Med was in the form of his life, won a Masters, the Tour Finals beating the Top 3 of the world, before leading his country to glory in Melbourne. At the AO, he dismantled two Top 8 players in straight sets heading into the final. He was on a 12 win steak against the Top 10, and 20 match wins overall. Moreover, he's someone who always makes it hard for Djokovic no matter what. He beat Djokovic 3 times out of their last 4 match and played a close match with him in AO two years ago. It was the toughest match for Djokovic in the whole tournament. Even Nadal had no idea how to deal with that Djokovic. The majority of people saw him as the favorite for a reason.







Then, the final happened and it wasn't what people expected at all. What went wrong with Med? Those trolls who are gonna say he's overrated are not welcome to the discussion. You can't question Med's quality after what he's done in the last hardcourt events. Even Djokovic's biggest jinxers on the planet aka TennisFan3 and StrongRule thought Med had a chance and that's huge because they never give anyone even 1% chance against Djokovic, not even Nadal at RG.

Vote and discuss.
 
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Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Wishful thinking + hilarious overreaction to Medvedev beating dudes who always play like canine excrement vs him.
 

GabeT

Legend
a mix of reasons I suppose

it’s become clearer and clearer that for Novak (and Nadal?) his level outside of a slam tells us little about how he’ll perform at a slam. So Med beating Novak in non slam events carried less information than many thought.

and, related to the first point, Medvedev had faced no one of Novak’s caliber on his way to the final. His results did not capture this.

finally you have the ”Novak at AO” factor. He was the 8 time winner for a reason
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Medvedev played a lot better in the 2019 US Open final there was no expectation, no pressure. He just couldn't handle the pressure this time and played too passive to threaten Novak who came out for a battle. I reckon he'll play a lot better in his next Slam final.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Also, the only way to beat Djokovic in a hard court Slam final is to overpower him. That's how Nadal did it in the two US Open finals he won against him and when he couldn't hit hard consistently, Djokovic would take control like in 2011 US Open final.

Stan Wawrinka always brings the hammer down on him in Slams which is why he's what 4-1 in Slams against Novak since 2015.
 
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MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
In terms of "what went wrong" then I choose nerves for sure. That's not to say he lost because of nerves, but that's why the match got so out of hand and was over in a blink.

Novak was extremely good, but that's not the reason Medvedev came out of the gate stumbling, sailing neutral forehands that he was hitting with easy all tournament long and getting caught flat footed on some of the most basic points where he was already a mile behind the baseline with extra time to set up.
 

wang07

Semi-Pro
Medvedev has the game to compete with Djokovic and shown that he could beat him several times already. What he really lacked in the final was mental strength. It was disappointing to see, because most of the Next Gen has already embarrassed themselves with unprecedented levels of mental muggery in the past, and to me this final has shown that Medvedev is no exception in that regard.

Djokovic still would have been too good for him, there's no debate about that, but there was no reason for Med not to make it a competitive 4 sets match atleast. What's really sad is that we are not even talking about being ahead, getting in a winning position and choking it away - he just lost a very close first set and was completely gone for the rest of the match. Not a true champion's mentality if you ask me.
 
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PilotPete

Professional
I thought all of these guys talk about how "experience" is so important! Well Medy had that experience at the USO final against Nadal. So what happened here? Djokovic is probably just better at AO than Nadal is at USO and Medy simply couldn't handle it.
 

ibbi

Legend
Novak was godlike on return. That was the real difference. Should Medvedev have reacted better to the butt whooping he was getting the way he did in his first grand slam final? Maybe, but like he himself has stated, Novak gives you less time to do anything (again, the return).

Djokovic served well too to keep ahead, sure, he had that one game with a couple of double faults but did well enough around it to hold, he was great on second serve, but he was still broken once in each of the first two sets so it’s not like you can say he was either invincible on serve or that Medvedev was playing like total trash. It’s just the Russian was totally smothered on his own service games, and then indeed reacted very badly to that.

Primary credit goes to Djokovic for being too good, not Medvedev for being too bad.
 
Djokovic vs Medveded was the final that everybody wanted as Medvedev was expected to push Djokovic to the limit. If you asked Djokovic fans before the tournament, who do you want Djokovic to avoid, they would say Medvedev with no hesitation. If Djokovic haters were asked, who is the player you want Djokovic to face, they would've said Medvedev with an evil smile on their faces.

Med was in the form of his life, won a Masters, the Tour Finals beating the Top 3 of the world, before leading his country to glory in Melbourne. At the AO, he dismantled two Top 8 players in straight sets heading into the final. He was on a 12 win steak against the Top 10, and 20 match wins overall. Moreover, he's someone who always makes it hard for Djokovic no matter what. He beat Djokovic 3 times out of their last 4 match and played a close match with him in AO two years ago. It was the toughest match for Djokovic in the whole tournament. Even Nadal had no idea how to deal with that Djokovic. The majority of people saw him as the favorite for a reason.







Then, the final happened and it wasn't what people expected at all. What went wrong with Med? Those trolls who are gonna say he's overrated are not welcome to the discussion. You can't question Med's quality after what he's done in the last hardcourt events. Even Djokovic's biggest jinxers on the planet aka TennisFan3 and StrongRule thought Med had a chance and that's huge because they never give anyone even 1% chance against Djokovic, not even Nadal at RG.

Vote and discuss.
Maybe Med is just not a great best-of-five set player when it counts, at least not yet. he's definitely a great best-of-three on fast surfaces...
 

UnforcedTerror

Professional
Novak was godlike on return. That was the real difference. Should Medvedev have reacted better to the butt whooping he was getting the way he did in his first grand slam final? Maybe, but like he himself has stated, Novak gives you less time to do anything (again, the return).

Djokovic served well too to keep ahead, sure, he had that one game with a couple of double faults but did well enough around it to hold, he was great on second serve, but he was still broken once in each of the first two sets so it’s not like you can say he was either invincible on serve or that Medvedev was playing like total trash. It’s just the Russian was totally smothered on his own service games, and then indeed reacted very badly to that.

Primary credit goes to Djokovic for being too good, not Medvedev for being too bad.
Djokovic's returns were on point, indeed.



 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
At the USO, he knew he wasn't playing the GOAT of the tournament plus I think he was in slightly better form in the summer of 2019. To add to that, I think Novak just played a more ruthless match than Nadal did in 2019 USO and that combination of that and knowing Djokovic never lost a final, and how much effort it was going to take caused Medvedev to unravel.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Medvedev looked like his feet were stuck to the ground on too many occasions. Is that a function of "choking" or indicative of something else, like not having competition that could put the ball at his feet from the entire court away consistently? I'm inclined to think it was the latter, and that Djokovic is just a better player when he is on, with a game that exposes Medvedev's poor movement. Nothing was "wrong." Something was just very right.
 

Gazelle

Legend
Medvedev had no reason except mentzl weakness for that collapse.

Yes, Djonovic played very well. He already did so in the first set, which was close. He stayed about the same level for the rest of the match.

So Meddy at least could play him close. But he let the mini-choke at the end of set one get into his head and simply stopped playing.
 

Gazelle

Legend
Medvedev looked like his feet were stuck to the ground on too many occasions. Is that a function of "choking" or indicative of something else, like not having competition that could put the ball at his feet from the entire court away consistently? I'm inclined to think it was the latter, and that Djokovic is just a better player when he is on, with a game that exposes Medvedev's poor movement. Nothing was "wrong." Something was just very right.
Meddy has good movement normally. He simply froze in that final.
 

Oceans

Rookie
Medvedev was outtacticed and simply outplayed. Djokovic was more aggressive than normal (took a leaf out of Federer vs Medvedev matches) and controlled the rallies working Medvedev around which took out his legs hence the errors. Medvedev is an outstanding player but still needs to improve his forehand, net play, fitness to reach Djokovic's level.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Also, the only way to beat Djokovic in a hard court Slam final is to overpower him. That's how Nadal did it in the two US Open finals he won against him and when he couldn't hit hard consistently, Djokovic would take control like in 2011 US Open final.

Stan Wawrinka always brings the hammer down on him in Slams which is why he's what 4-1 in Slams against Novak since 2015.
Nah that's not how Nadal beat Djokovic in those USO finals. Djokovic hit almost 20 more winners than Nadal in 2013 and they were about even in 2010. What Nadal did to disrupt Djokovic was his great defense and putting the ball in uncomfortable spots, causing Djokovic to bleed errors plus he was awesome on defense to offense.

Stan beats Djokovic with power and angles. That's how you beat Djokovic by hitting offensive shots in the corners and short on the sidelines, and get him out of position then go for the next offensive shot in the open court. If you give Djokovic just straight power, like Del Potro does, he will eat you alive.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Nah that's not how Nadal beat Djokovic in those USO finals. Djokovic hit almost 20 more winners than Nadal in 2013 and they were about even in 2010. What Nadal did to disrupt Djokovic was his great defense and putting the ball in uncomfortable spots, causing Djokovic to bleed errors plus he was awesome on defense to offense.

Stan beats Djokovic with power and angles. That's how you beat Djokovic by hitting offensive shots in the corners and short on the sidelines, and get him out of position then go for the next offensive shot in the open court. If you give Djokovic just straight power, like Del Potro does, he will eat you alive.
Overpowering doesn't mean hitting clean winners. Federer almost always hits more winners but isn't really dictating the rallies. Nadal was able to out-hit Djokovic and forced him to make many errors. Watch the 2010 and 2013 finals. Nadal was hitting the ball way harder than 2011.

Nadal however needs to be at his absolutely best to play at that level. His normal level just doesn't not hurt Djokovic as much on hard courts.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Overpowering doesn't mean hitting clean winners. Federer almost always hits more winners but isn't really dictating the rallies. Nadal was able to out-hit Djokovic and forced him to make many errors. Watch the 2010 and 2013 finals. Nadal was hitting the ball way harder than 2011.
Nadal rarely outhits Djokovic off clay though. Djokovic was bludgeoning the ball in 2013 from the beginning of the 2nd set and through most of the 3rd set. It was Nadal's ability to waiver that storm and absorb the pace and use it against Djokovic that won him that match.

Federer hits more winners because he is the one who will move forward more and hit more volleys for winners, and he is more aggressive than Djokovic earlier in a rally.

Need average groundstroke speeds to say he was hitting the ball harder. Maybe in 2010 based on the eye test but I wouldn't say that for 2013.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Nadal rarely outhits Djokovic off clay though. Djokovic was bludgeoning the ball in 2013 from the beginning of the 2nd set and through most of the 3rd set. It was Nadal's ability to waiver that storm and absorb the pace and use it against Djokovic that won him that match.

Federer hits more winners because he is the one who will move forward more and hit more volleys for winners, and he is a little more aggressive than Djokovic earlier in a rally.

Need average groundstroke speeds to say he was hitting the ball harder. Maybe in 2010 based on the eye test but I wouldn't say that for 2013.
Djokovic went for broke in the second set of 2013 because Nadal was dictating the rallies. Nadal trusted his level and stayed with him and 'stole' the third set. Djokovic had nothing else to offer in the 4th set and just gave up.

Despite winning 2019 US Open, I haven't seen Nadal play his 2013 level on hard court again since China Open 2017. Maybe he never will again. It's just not his normal level on hard courts.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Djokovic went for broke in the second set of 2013 because Nadal was dictating the rallies. Nadal trusted his level and stayed with him and 'stole' the third set. Djokovic had nothing else to offer in the 4th set and just gave up.

Despite winning 2019 US Open, I haven't seen Nadal play his 2013 level on hard court again since China Open 2017.
You don't outhit someone with 27 winners and 20 unforced errors when they have 46 winners and 53 unforced errors. That shows that they were the aggressor and more times than not were dictating but the other player just flat out outplayed them by being more patient and waiting for the right opportunity to go for their big shot and kept the amount of errors down.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Depth kills. Not to mention a sublime return of serve and top notch defense.
They do. And Medvedev also was just very nervous as he knew he was expected to give a tough resistence in the final. In most rallies he just wanted to keep the ball back in play. Novak absolutely destroys such play.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
You don't outhit someone with 27 winners and 20 unforced errors when they have 46 winners and 53 unforced errors. That shows that they were the aggressor and more times than not were dictating but the other player just flat out outplayed them by being more patient and waiting for the right opportunity to go for their big shot and kept the amount of errors down.
I take it you didn't watch the final and just going by the match stats. Nadal in his prime didn't hit many winners and always forced more errors from his opponent whilst making very few errors himself.

 

Robbymack

New User
I don’t know what’s so surprising here. Med, for everything there is to like about him, just doesn’t have the firepower to throw at Joker to concern him. Especially when you figure he’s got 5 sets to play with. If I’m joker I know if this goes 5 there is no way this guy beats me because ultimately I’m in better shape and hit harder. So he’s basically going out knowing that he can swing a lot more freely early on and if he’s on point (which he was) he will wipe the floor with Med. if not he’s got time to find his rhythm.
 

Mivic

Rookie
Medvedev doesn’t have the endurance to win over 5 sets against someone with Djokovic’s strength and ability to dictate from the baseline given his style of play at this stage. He exerted too much energy in the first set to lose it and the mental toll of knowing he’d have to outgrind Djokovic on his favourite court for another 3/4 sets with no realistic alternative in order to win was too much for him and he unravelled with the help of some incredible returning from Djokovic. Until Medvedev improves his fitness or offensive arsenal substantially it’s going to be very tough for him to beat an in form Djokovic in the best of 5 format.
 
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RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Djokovic is obviously better than Medvedev but given their past meetings Med should have been able to give him a much better fight. He got nervous and laid an egg, which I knew he would do. I predicted a 6-2,6-2,6-2 Djokovic win which wasn’t far off sadly
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
I take it you didn't watch the final and just going by the match stats. Nadal in his prime didn't hit many winners and always forced more errors from his opponent whilst making very few errors himself.

I watched the match as it happened. Let's just say we disagree on this.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Djokovic went for broke in the second set of 2013 because Nadal was dictating the rallies. Nadal trusted his level and stayed with him and 'stole' the third set. Djokovic had nothing else to offer in the 4th set and just gave up.

Despite winning 2019 US Open, I haven't seen Nadal play his 2013 level on hard court again since China Open 2017. Maybe he never will again. It's just not his normal level on hard courts.
He can’t play that way any more. Nadal 05-13 and Nadal 14-21 are totally different players. That iron wall of defense and fitness is long gone. And the absolute peak movement has been gone since Madrid 2009 which age wise fits with decline from peak explosiveness across sports. I’ve been impressed with his ability to reinvent himself over the years despite having the most limited skillset of the big three, but in a way the critics who said he couldn’t sustain what he was doing in 2005 through 2009 were essentially correct.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Djokovic meditated before the final. His mental strength still didn't reach its final form, guys.

Good days are coming.
I admire Djokovic’s dedication to physical and mental health. If only he had kept the aggressive 2007 or 2011 game style, I could enjoy watching him more
 
Last three defeats Novak suffered from Medvedev were a bit misleading, IMO.

MC 2019 - loss on clay, truly indicator of Djokovic's poor form (1st tournament after IW/Miami debacle).

Cincy 2019 - Djokovic was winning by playing with great variety, then Medvedev started serving 2nd serve bombs and aces everywhere. Not something that is easy to reproduce on demand (he tried it in the AO final too but it only yielded several DF).

WTF 2020 - weird tournament for Novak where he played some half-assed no pace tennis. Also RR match, not uber important and Novak still made the SF.

Medvedev is a great young player and he'll beat sub par Novak but on his turf at AO, good Novak routined him. This is all in hindsight of course. I thought match would go to 4 or 5 sets.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Djokovic came into the match with a game plan to hit very aggressively while he was good enough on RLA to still not make too many errors unlike in the 2020RG final or at the 2020WTF. He also returned very deep and Medvedev started feeling very pressured on his own service games as Djokovic was taking control of points even on his first serve.

Medvedev seemed to be willing to be patient and play longer rallies on his return games for most of the match except for the stretch where he gave up mentally from late in the second set to midway through the third set. He did break Djokovic once in each set and that should have been enough to make it a competitive match. The problem was that he seemed to be in too much of a hurry to end points quickly on his own service games and sprayed many errors as Djokovic was effortlessly returning every serve deep. Maybe, this was his pre-match plan and he never adjusted to be being more conservative on his own service games - Djokovic converted seven out of 11 break points to make the match one-sided.

I think that starting with the quarterfinal against Zverev, Djokovic played his last three matches at the AO at a level he hasn’t shown for more than a year. I don’t think Daniil was ready for the great champion to play in the kind of top form he exhibited just like Nadal was not ready in the 2019AO final. Djokovic could outhit Medvedev from the baseline without making too many errors and come to the net to finish some points while Medvedev struggled to find a way to end points in his favor. I guess counterpunchers like Murray, Nadal and Medvedev don’t do as well on the fast surface of RLA against Novak as do those with more firepower like Wawrinka and Thiem.
 

onyxrose81

Hall of Fame
Djokovic is obviously better than Medvedev but given their past meetings Med should have been able to give him a much better fight. He got nervous and laid an egg, which I knew he would do. I predicted a 6-2,6-2,6-2 Djokovic win which wasn’t far off sadly
It probably should have been that scoreline, if Djokovic didn’t have a terrible game 3-1 up in the first.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
Djokovic vs Medveded was the final that everybody wanted as Medvedev was expected to push Djokovic to the limit. If you asked Djokovic fans before the tournament, who do you want Djokovic to avoid, they would say Medvedev with no hesitation. If Djokovic haters were asked, who is the player you want Djokovic to face, they would've said Medvedev with an evil smile on their faces.

Med was in the form of his life, won a Masters, the Tour Finals beating the Top 3 of the world, before leading his country to glory in Melbourne. At the AO, he dismantled two Top 8 players in straight sets heading into the final. He was on a 12 win steak against the Top 10, and 20 match wins overall. Moreover, he's someone who always makes it hard for Djokovic no matter what. He beat Djokovic 3 times out of their last 4 match and played a close match with him in AO two years ago. It was the toughest match for Djokovic in the whole tournament. Even Nadal had no idea how to deal with that Djokovic. The majority of people saw him as the favorite for a reason.







Then, the final happened and it wasn't what people expected at all. What went wrong with Med? Those trolls who are gonna say he's overrated are not welcome to the discussion. You can't question Med's quality after what he's done in the last hardcourt events. Even Djokovic's biggest jinxers on the planet aka TennisFan3 and StrongRule thought Med had a chance and that's huge because they never give anyone even 1% chance against Djokovic, not even Nadal at RG.

Vote and discuss.
Bad day at the office but also a tactical master class from Djokovic. Djokovic agreed with my assessment i think in that on current form Medvedev was favourite. Your post illustrates many also shared that analytical viewpoint.
So Djokovic changed his game plan. He hit many balls centrally rather than trying to pull medvedev wide where he uses his long wingspan to generate power and angles. This cramped Medevedev and thus forced Medvedev to be the aggressor and not the counter puncher and his FH from the middle of the court got exposed. He then imploded as he was unsure what to do.
One wonders if Djokovic or his camp were perhaps lurking on here. It was tactically a great change up. Worthy of a chess master.
 

beard

Hall of Fame
it’s become clearer and clearer that for Novak (and Nadal?) his level outside of a slam tells us little about how he’ll perform at a slam. So Med beating Novak in non slam events carried less information than many thought.

and, related to the first point, Medvedev had faced no one of Novak’s caliber on his way to the final. His results did not capture this.

finally you have the ”Novak at AO” factor. He was the 8 time winner for a reason
And even within a slam Novak's level in first rounds tells nothing... ;)
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
We must have watched two different matches, I guess. You'd probably also think Novak hits with same power on clay as he did before 2016.
What you are saying is just incorrect. Djokovic hit 46 winners and forced 36 errors. Nadal hit 27 winners and forced 41 erorrs.

46 + 36 = 82 winners + forced errors
27 + 41 = 68 winners + forced errors

Clearly Djokovic was the aggressor in this match and I don't think he hits with same power on clay that he did up until 2016 which I have said numerous times on here.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
The focus and intensity in Djoker's eyes was chilling. We do not care for Medvedev's body language and moping around the court. He comes across as a loser.

Given all the expectations and his unprecedented 20 match streak against 12 Top 10 players, it was one of the most disappointing Finals in history.

Yes, Medvedev disgraced both himself and the NextGen.

He has all the physical skills. He must now work on his mental game. Become a warrior like Djoker that breaks through the pain barrier. A warrior that wants the trophy so badly that he sacrifices his body and endures and plays through a widening excruciating muscle tear (17mm widening to 25 mm by the Finals).

Does Medvedev have that type of mindset? Or is he content to be a happy runner-up loser?
:unsure:
 
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