Medvedev Pops Championship Bottle
By James Henry
(August 18, 2019) CINCINNATI — Daniil Medvedev gave his all to win his first Masters 1000 title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, defeating David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Sapped of energy, his victory celebration was muted, limited to a simple fist pump.
“I was so exhausted during all the match, to be honest. And especially 5-3, I started cramping everywhere. Of course, I tried to not show it. This last game, 15-40, I cramp everywhere. I say, OK, if it’s 5-All, what do I do?
“And I make four amazing serves. And when I make the last one, I’m like, wow, it’s finished. And I had no, zero force inside of me to do anything.”
Reaching an astonishing third final in three weeks, it was Medvedev’s 16th tennis match in just 20 days. He also recently competed for championships at the Citi Open in Washington against Nick Kyrgios and the Coupe Rogers in Montreal against Rafael Nadal.
Regardless of the results, it has been a forever memorable time, Medvedev said.
“I have to say, even if I wouldn’t have finished with the trophy, they were amazing and the best in my life,” he said. “But, of course, I think with the trophy is better. Especially if I would have lost three finals in a row, I would have not doubted myself, but, like, started asking myself, how is it possible, three finals, lost all of them? What should I do differently in the final?
“And, finally, I don’t have to ask myself these questions, because, well, I won the final. Yeah, it’s been the best weeks in my life. I mean, as I say, mentality was the best in my life.
“My serve was the best in my life. My tennis was really consistent. I didn’t have one bad match.”
“I’m just extremely happy. And, hopefully, I can continue this way well through all my career, but, hopefully, at least next few weeks,” he added with a smile and nod to the U.S. Open, which begins qualifying rounds on Aug. 19 and main-draw competition on Aug 26.
However, Medvedev, who now will move up to a career-high No. 5 in the ATP Tour rankings, is tempering expectations.
“I’m sure I can win a Masters, because I just did it, but winning a Grand Slam is different. At this moment I haven’t been in the quarterfinal yet,” he said.
“So, as I say, to reach my first quarterfinal will be good, and I take it match by match. If I will be in quarterfinal, I will try to do my best to win everything, but at this moment I need to take it step by step and just become better player every day.”
Nine days ago, the 23-year-old Russian hadn’t played a Masters 1000 final. Now, in as many weeks, he has competed in two.
“I try to approach every match the same, and while I gained the experience of these big matches, because even if you approach it the same, when you come on your first Masters 1000 final, well, you are shaky, you are like a young kid there. Especially playing against Rafa, who had, I don’t know, 55 Grand Slam finals, 55 Masters finals — of course, I’m exaggerating, but for him, it’s routine to be in these finals,” Medvedev said.
“And me, I was there for the first time, packed stadium. Again this experience that I could use here, being more calm when I went on the court and using this kind of experience that actually David didn’t have, and maybe that’s why I won.
“I have always said for me experience of playing, experience of everything in life is really important, so it’s just a matter of this.”
As rallies stretched to 20 — and sometimes more than 30 — shots, Medvedev said he felt the pressure mount.
“I was a bit stressed, because, well, it’s a final of a Masters, so every time I tried to go for a bigger shot, I was feeling inside of me that kind of not secure in them,” he admitted.
“And against David, also, he’s running so good, so I was sometimes doubting myself. Do I go with the bigger shot with the risk to miss it if he’s all the time on the ball? So, all the match, I was thinking tactically.”
Those emotions boiled over when he lost a point and smashed his racket.
“I started cramping at 5-4 from the beginning, which I think I made ace at Love-30, so I was, like, OK, I need to stay in there. And then I lose the point that I should have won probably, tough point, and I just get frustrated,” he said.
“And I think it was the first racket I throw in three weeks, because I was just getting frustrated that I can, well, basically, lose the title, start cramping, and nobody knows how it goes.
“So, I have this second serve and I’m, like, OK. In Russia, we say ‘Who doesn’t risk, doesn’t drink Champagne.’ So, I’m drinking Champagne tonight.”
Medvedev, who upset defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, said he always will remember this week and this event.
“This place will be special for all my career no matter what I achieve, because that’s a first Masters 1000 win for me. And I like the tournament a lot, the facilities and everything,” he said.
The 2019 Western & Southern Open drew 198,044 spectators, the second highest tally in tournament history. A record 15 of 16 sessions were sold out.
Other championship results:
* WTA Singles — Madison Keys defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5).
* WTA Doubles — Lucie Hradecká and Andreja Klepač defeated Anna-Lena Grönefeld and Demi Schuurs 6-4, 6-1.
* ATP Doubles — Ivan Dodig and Filip Polášek defeated Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.
James Henry is covering the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati for Tennis Panorama News.