Stefanos is at that stage of his career now where he is still learning about the perils of five-set tennis over two weeks and what it takes to win a slam. I think that shows that he is close, the fact he is making the semis here again. In reality, though he needed things to have been a bit smoother than they had been in the leadup to the semis to have given himself the best opportunity possible. I wouldn’t say it has been ‘Sascha Zverev’ like but there have been a couple of long matches. It was always going to be hard to bring that level and intensity that he did against Rafa in the last three sets a few nights ago as a result. That shows the difference of the two and a half years age gap between Tsitsipas and Medvedev. Not specifically the Rafa match but just round by round. The Russian has learnt how to get the job done whilst conserving energy. Having said that I really think that Medvedev would have been in the final irrespective of his semi-final opponent today. I think he is going to win the final too as tough as it looks.
Tsitsipas was very complimentary after saying “He played really well. Let me tell you that he is a player that has unlocked everything in the game. He is reading the game really well, he has this amazing serve which I would say is close to John Isner’s serve and then he has amazing baseline that makes things extremely difficult”. To see the betting for the final is virtually the toss of a coin, (Nole is a slight favourite) tells you all you need to know here about how people rate his chances against the Serb. I thought his on-court interview was pretty clever after the win over Stefanos. He was saying how Djokovic will have all the pressure on him as he has 8 titles in Melbourne and has never lost a final there. Then he went onto say how he will also be chasing Roger and Rafa in slams. He balanced it by saying that Djokovic has the experience but that he also has a lot more to lose. I thought that was a nice bit of gamesmanship. The additional comment about Federer and Nadal is the sort of remark that I can imagine playing on Nole’s mind if I am honest, so let’s see. It would appear that his game and his mentality are ready to take him to the next level.
Andy Del Potro