Daniil Medvedev thinks Novak Djokovic’s accomplishments are starting to gain more and more respect, but may only be fully appreciated when he has retired from tennis.
Djokovic beat Medvedev 4-6 6-3 6-3 in the final of the Paris Masters on Sunday to win the tournament for a sixth time.
The 34-year-old, who is playing this week for the first time since losing to Medvedev in the final of the US Open two months ago, has also secured the year-end No 1 ranking for a record seventh time and moved ahead of Rafael Nadal in the all-time list for most Masters titles with 37.
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Asked about Djokovic’s record-breaking week, Medvedev said: “I have the feeling that people are starting more and more to…respect what he has done in tennis more and more, because he continues to beat the records.
“Only this year he beat the records for being No 1 for most weeks, 310 it was, and now it's much more . He got to 20 Slams, almost [completed] a Calendar Slam.
“I think maybe 10 years after he retires, there are going to people who will start watching tennis, just like me, I didn’t see [Pete] Sampras play, I was too young, but I heard he was amazing, it’s going to be the same.
“There are going to be new people coming to tennis [in the future] who are just going to read in Wikipedia, or whatever, what were the results, who was the world No 1 for most weeks, for most times in the end, and they are going to see Novak everywhere. That's when people are going to start to understand, ‘Okay, that's amazing what he has done.’”
Medvedev had won two of his previous three meetings against Djokovic and looked on track for another victory after clinching the opening set in Paris.
But Djokovic fought back to lift the title after two hours and 15 minutes, helped by winning 19 of 22 serve and volley points.
Asked what it would have meant if he had beaten Djokovic again, Medvedev said: “It's impossible to have any upper hand psychologically speaking on him.
“But this could be the case for me as well. If we take for instance the last weeks, I lost against Grigor [Dimitrov], [Andrey] Rublev and Novak. So the next time that I will play these three opponents this question shouldn't be raised. 'Will Daniil be affected psychologically?' No.
When I played Novak, I knew that he would try to take his revenge. What was at stake was not the same. Of course, I'm not talking about the prize money here. I could feel he really wanted to win no matter what, and this is what competition is all about.
Djokovic said that he felt he read Medvedev’s serve better than he did in New York, when he was beaten in straight sets as his Calendar Slam bid fell at the final hurdle.
“I went back and reviewed the final of the US Open to see what I did wrong and what I did right,” he told Tennis Channel.
“I tried to read the patterns of his serve and the ball toss, maybe. I tried to look for the small details, because it was a match of small margins. He started better, broke my serve in the first game and I came back. He served the first set out pretty comfortably, but I felt as if I was there.
"I thought it was only a matter of time when I was going to read his serve better, and start to make some plays. You can’t go through him. You have to find a way to play with controlled aggression, play the right shots at the right time and make him come in. It’s variety that wins matches against him. We both suffered on the court and there was a lot of gruelling rallies."
Both Djokovic and Medvedev will next compete at the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin, which start on November 14.
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