Closing the books on his Grand Slam season with a fourth-round exit to Nick Kyrgios at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night, Daniil Medvedev was left to rue missed opportunities at this year’s majors… and the end of his reign as World No. 1.
Medvedev’s 7-6(11), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat to the Australian showman means that he will relinquish his hold on the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking after the US Open after spending 17 weeks in that position throughout the year. With just one run beyond the fourth round at this year’s Slams (a runner-up finish at the Australian Open), the 26-year-old said that he will be motivated for a stronger showing at the majors in 2023, and to reclaim World No. 1, hopefully before the end of the year.
In his post match press-conference, the defending champion said that he was ‘disappointed’ and knows that he needs to perform better to return to World No. 1 and to become a multiple Grand Slam winner.
“It was not the first thing on my mind walking after the match, saying, ‘Damn, will not be the World No. 1 any more,’” Medvedev said.
“I actually don’t know which place I will be. Probably three or four. I guess Carlos (Alcaraz) will pass me. I don’t know, actually. But that’s motivation, try to do better. Obviously it was the last Slam of the year. Didn’t do well enough. Didn’t win in Australia when I had the chance. Didn’t get the chance to play Wimbledon. Roland Garros, lost fourth round. Here fourth round. Yeah, should do better. Should get more points if I want to be World No. 1 again.”
Kyrgios extends his ATP Head2Head lead to 4-1 over Medvedev, including a close win three-weeks ago at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Montreal, Canada. Medvedev admitted that the Australian was clearly the better player Sunday night, comparing the Australian’s level to the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
“He played quite good in Montreal also. Yeah, it was a high-level match. [I’ve] played Novak, Rafa. They all play amazing. Nick today played kind of their level, in my opinion,” Medvedev said.
“He has a little bit different game because he’s not like a grinder in a way. At the same time he can rally. He’s tough to play. He has an amazing serve. But from baseline it’s not like when the point starts, you know that you have the advantage. He plays good. He has every shot. It was a really high-level match, I mean, from him. If he plays like this until end of the tournament, he has all the chances to win it.”
What a run it’s been.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 5, 2022
Despite firing 22 aces, the defending champion lacked consistency from his first delivery, making 59% of his first serves. The 14-time tour adopted a different approach on return than he pursued in Montreal, standing much closer (especially early in the first set) to make it harder for Kyrgios to exploit him with serve and volley. As the match wore on at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Medvedev retreated further back behind the baseline, allowing him more time to react to Kyrgios’ heavy serve.
“That was a little bit of my plan, to not let him serve and volley,” Medvedev said. “At one moment I felt like maybe I’m just a little bit too close actually, so I went just a little bit further where he still, in my opinion, couldn’t really serve and volley, but I could have just a little bit more time to return. In general I feel like if I take the match, the return was not so bad. I should have served a little bit better, which is not easy sometimes, played a little bit better from baseline, again, not easy, he played good.”
Medvedev, who won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2021, leaves New York boasting a 23-5 record at the season’s final Slam and is 37-13 in 2022.