McEnroe: Everything points to Barty but don't rule out battling Collins

Australians, Melburnians in particular, have not had much to cheer about having had to endure some of the world’s toughest coronavirus restrictions.

The pandemic is not over, but restrictions are being eased and Australians could have a party on Saturday night.

Ash Barty, who has been charged with the task of bringing Australian Open glory to her home country, is one match away from banging down the door and getting her hands on the trophy.

Australian Open

Dokic lauds ‘inspirational’ Ashleigh Barty ahead of Australian Open final


Chris O’Neil was the last Australian to lift a singles title, way back in 1978. Since then, only Wendy Turnbull (1980), Kim Warwick (1980), Pat Cash (1987, 1988) and Lleyton Hewitt (2005) have reached the final.

Pressure will be on Barty, but John McEnroe believes she could feed off the energy of the crowd.

“I think that she’s gonna feel pressure and she’s gonna try to use the fans to help her if she needs to,” McEnroe said. “Seems like the mix is working perfectly so far. She has talked about feeling great about playing in front of Australians.

Wilander and Henman analyse Barty’s slice-backhand shot

“I’d be surprised if she doesn’t feel pressure and that you don’t see at some point, I don’t know when it will be if it’s going to be early in the match or it’s going to be towards the latter part when she’s trying to finish the match off, or if she got behind at some point in the first set and how she’ll handle that.”

Since winning the French Open in 2019, it’s been viewed by many that an Australian Open would follow.

Defeats in the semi-finals and quarter-finals in 2020 and 2021 respectively deflated expectation to an extent, but she arrived at Melbourne Park in 2022 in top form and high on confidence.

She brushed aside Madison Keys in the semi-finals for the loss of four games and is one win away from ending 44 years of hurt for Australians at their home Grand Slam.

The No. 1 seeding added another layer of expectation, but she has handled it superbly over the course of the past two weeks.

Twelve sets played, 12 sets won. And such has been Barty’s dominance, she lost only 21 games over the course of six rounds.

‘You can’t hit Barty off the court’ – Wilander and Henman on Keys defeat in semi-final

“She should feel great and she’s playing at the top of her game,” McEnroe said. “So everything points to her winning this in two sets, truthfully.

“For the most part she’s done a great job. Obviously at the US Open, she didn’t do that great a job. But that was also because she’d been away from home for six, eight months and I think that was getting to her. And this is just my opinion.

“You saw that she stopped playing pretty much the last three, four months of the year. So she seems like she’s got a renewed sense of feeling good on the tennis court and that’s not good news for her opponents. So she’s been able to be in Australia, do her thing and she looks to be very comfortable and confident. So she’s going to be very difficult to beat.”

Danielle Collins stands between Barty and greatness. McEnroe is hugely impressed with his fellow American, and believes she has the mindset to combat a partisan crowd.

“I am impressed by her and no, I wouldn’t have bet on her at the beginning of the Australian Open,” McEnroe said of Collins. “I don’t know a lot about her. However, I’ve watched her the last three, four years and she’s one of the most intense competitors I’ve seen.

‘She was hit off the court by the better player’ – Analysis of Collins beating Swiatek in semi-final

“She brings up fire and an intensity to a court that I think has intimidated a lot of players. And I think she’s learned from her experiences on the tour and her ups and downs. You know, missing time when you miss time and you get to deal with injuries, you come back, you appreciate things more.

“Things have sort of fallen her way in the draw for her. But I’ve always loved the way she competed and I think that’s her greatest weapon, her ability to battle even when things look bleak and this is a tremendous effort for her.

“The pressure is not on her now. She can just go out and she hasn’t been in a Grand Slam final but you know, everyone’s expecting Barty to beat her. So to me she can go out and swing freely and sort of maybe pull off a shock upset.”

McEnroe feels Barty is the strong favourite, but says Collins can take hope from the surprise results in the women’s game in recent seasons.

“I do think Barty is going to win,” McEnroe said. “She’s playing phenomenally well; her service. She’s only 5 feet 6 I think and she’s just unbelievable how well she’s been holding up on her serve and she’s just run through this tournament with almost no problem. So you almost half expected at some point she’s going to start to go off her game a little bit. And Collins is the type of player that can throw you off.

“So if she’s not overwhelmed and sort of just appreciates the moment, I think she’s got a shot.

“I wouldn’t pick her to win it. But I don’t think it’s out of the question she could win. Look what’s happened the last three, four years in women’s tennis, I mean everywhere you turn there’s someone that’s come out of the blue. Look at the US Open. Do you want to tell me what the odds of [Emma] Raducanu and [Leylah] Fernandez getting to the final? It was probably like 10 million to one. So there’s no reason she could not do something that’s unexpected.”

– –

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'I think it makes it more interesting' – McEnroe has no issues with Medvedev rant

John McEnroe had no problems with Daniil Medvedev’s verbal volley at umpire Jaume Campistol during his Australian Open semi-final win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

With the second set swinging in Tsitsipas’ favour, No. 1 seed Medvedev took his frustrations out on the umpire – forcefully telling him to step in amid suggestions his opponent’s coach and father was providing tactical advice.

Medvedev continued his attack at the end the second set, accusing Campistol of being a “small cat.”

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The Russian left the court and seemingly cooled down, as he regrouped to run out a 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 winner – after which he mouthed “I’m sorry” to the chair official.

While his play for much of the contest should have been the talking point, it was his attacking of the official which had tongues wagging.

Eurosport pundit Justine Henin suggested Medvedev had crossed a line and that a penalty should be considered, but McEnroe – no stranger to berating officials during his playing days – disagreed.

‘I was definitely out of my mind’ – Medvedev on ‘small cat’

“You’re probably asking the wrong person, if you’re asking me if the referee should default a player,” McEnroe said. “I personally love to see emotions.

“If they trash talk a little bit, like we used to in the past, especially like me and [Jimmy] Connors, or me and [Ivan] Lendl, I think it makes it more interesting. Personally, I like it.”

McEnroe has said that he used to pick arguments with officials to fire himself up; the American felt Medvedev lost focus for a period.

“He was out of mind, no question,” McEnroe said, “He apologised.

Speaking from my own experience, when you’re coming on the court and it’s that hot, it’s pretty tough sometimes to always keep your composure.

“All in all, I think he’s done a great job turning from the bad guy at the US Open (2019) into a very intriguing and interesting player.”

Of the crop of players coming up behind Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Medvedev excites McEnroe the most.

“An incredible player,” McEnroe said. “He’s my favourite player to watch right now.

“The way he plays, it’s so different, it’s awesome.”

Highlights: Medvedev edges out Tsitsipas in heated battle to reach final

McEnroe was impressed with how Campistol handled the occasion.

“Talking about the umpire, to me, when you don’t mention their name, they’ve done a good job, basically,” McEnroe said. “They’re in a situation where the linesmen are not even there anymore. So the role now is just keep things going. And how many times can you leave the courts, how many times can you change your clothes, how many doctors can you call? It’s part of the game.

“Maybe Medvedev went overboard, but I don’t think he should have been defaulted, if you’re asking me. I like to see a guy care so much on the court.”

– –

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‘He's gone too far’ – Henin hits out at Medvedev after umpire outburst

Former world No. 1 Justine Henin has blasted Daniil Medvedev, saying the Australian Open finalist has gone too far after his latest rant at the officials.

The 25-year-old Medvedev has made a name for himself in recent years for the manner in which he can explode on court when things aren’t going to his liking.

That happened again on Friday when he shouted “are you stupid” at the match umpire as well as calling him “a small cat” after being infuriated with what he felt was too much coaching from the father of his opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Australian Open

Dokic lauds ‘inspirational’ Ashleigh Barty ahead of Australian Open final


And former Fed Cup winner Henin, who now works as a pundit for Eurosport France, believes that the Russian has gone too far.

“He clearly overstepped the lines,” Henin said after the game.

Highlights: Medvedev edges out Tsitsipas in heated battle to reach final

“We can’t accept from anyone to talk like that to an umpire who didn’t commit a huge mistake at this point.

“On the substance, he might be right but on the form it’s clearly unbearable.

He’s gone too far. Maybe he should be penalised. It might happen.

“After the game, he made his mea culpa, saying ‘it’s not right what I did, let’s move one”. I’m not sure it will follow this path so easily for him.”

Former Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander, another Eurosport pundit, said he thinks both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will be watching Medvedev’s final against Rafael Nadal.

“First of all they are lovers of tennis. I think they will most probably watch it because it’s fun and [they’ll think]: ‘Ah, yeah, that’s what Rafa used to do against me’ or ‘Look at this Daniil Medvedev, is he better than we ever were?’

“Then I think there’s the tactical tennis pro that’s still out there [thinking]: ‘What can I learn from what Medvedev does to Nadal, or Nadal does to Medvedev?’ So I’m sure Federer and Djokovic are both watching.”

– –

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Dokic lauds ‘inspirational’ Ashleigh Barty ahead of Australian Open final

Australian tennis legends Jelena Dokic and Pat Rafter have lavished praise on Ashleigh Barty ahead of the Australian Open final on Saturday, with Dokic calling the world No. 1 “inspirational”.

Speaking exclusively to Eurosport, Dokic, the former world No. 4, and Rafter, who twice won the men’s singles title at the US Open, both talked up Barty’s burgeoning legacy in her home country. Having swatted aside Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 in a businesslike semi-final, Barty is the first Australian to reach the women’s singles final in 42 years.

She will now face Danielle Collins in the tournament decider, with the American beating Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-1 in the other semi-final. While Collins has been impressive over the last couple of weeks, Barty will be firm favourite to win the title on home soil.

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“Ash Barty is definitely one of those inspirational women, not just because of what she has done on the court and how successful she has been, but off the court as well,” said Dokic.

“What she stands for, she is inspiring. She is a role model to so many kids who look up to her. She is so proud of her heritage as well.”

Rafter, meanwhile, pinpointed Barty’s 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory against Coco Gauff at the Adelaide International at the beginning of January as a crucial moment in her recent run of form. She went on to win the Australian Open warm-up tournament with further victories against Sofia Kenin, Swiatek and Elena Rybakina, setting herself up perfectly for the main event.

Wilander and Henman analyse Barty’s slice-backhand shot

“When we watched Ash Barty play in the past she would have a couple of moments where she might lose her composure a little bit, then she fights and then she gets back into it,” said Rafter.

“The first match of the year where she played Coco Gauff, she was in a good headspace and ever since then she has not missed a beat and I am hoping this can continue.”

Barty has credited her mindset coach, Ben Crowe, with helping her to stay in that headspace. Speaking in the Eurosport Cube following her triumph against Keys, she said: “He helped my team, he helped me to change the perception of how I viewed everything, really.

“I was able to grow as a person and really start enjoying my tennis a lot more. It’s taken me to that next level and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the work.

“We’ve had to work really hard and I love it. I love trying to piece together all the pieces of the puzzle to try to make me a complete tennis player, and it’s been fantastic to have him as part of that team.”

Even with the weight of expectation on her shoulders, Barty has expressed her pride at being the home favourite in Melbourne. “I love this tournament, I love coming out here and playing in Australia,” she said on-court following her victory in the semi-final.

“As an Aussie, we’re exceptionally spoiled that we’re a Grand Slam nation, we get to play at home and we get to play in our back yard.

“I’m just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it, I’ve done well before and now, to have a chance to play for a title, it’s unreal.”

– –

Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99

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Rafa the Great, Medvedev's meltdown and one umpire's stealth mission – Aus Open Diary

Vintage Rafa steals the show

Rafael Nadal rolled back the years with some vintage play to breeze through his first two sets against Matteo Berrettini before advancing to the Australian Open final in four sets and his throwback performance was not lost on those watching around the world.

Comedian Ben Stiller, a long-time tennis fan who has attended several matches over the years and even sat in Nadal’s box one time at the 2018 US Open, marveled at the Spaniard’s level against Berrettini on Friday.

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“Watching 35 year old #Rafa operate at this level is so special,” tweeted Stiller during the match.

Laura Robson tweeted: “Feel like I’m watching 2010 Rafa. Vintage”, while one Twitter user posted: “Rafa really out here playing all the bangers off the first album.”

Can the Spaniard clinch his first Australian Open title since 2009 and break the men’s all-time Grand Slam record by winning a 21st major on Sunday?

‘I feel alive again’

Nadal has said multiple times this fortnight that his chronic foot injury got so bad at the end of last year, he wasn’t sure he would be able to continue to play professional tennis. Now he’s in a Grand Slam final again, playing some explosive tennis.

“Six months off, you don’t even know if you’re going to come back and play professional tennis and now you play at this level. What’s the most surprising to you: Is it the way you hit the ball, the way you move, or the way you can still solve the problems?” tennis legend and Eurosport analyst Mats Wilander asked Nadal on Friday.

Nadal responded: “Mats, being honest, everything. The people from outside, it’s difficult to believe. But the people who are next to me and watched and lived my daily conditions for the last six months, difficult to understand that I was able to play at this level right now.

“Difficult to explain honestly, but I feel lucky just playing tennis. I’m playing I think with a great attitude, positive feelings.

“I feel alive again in terms of competitive spirit; I missed that feeling and I’m enjoying it. The pressure it not much for me now, I never believed that I will have the chance to be where I am today. So I’m just enjoying every single moment and of course trying my best.”

Sounds like he’s found his sweet spot again.

‘I missed that feeling’ – Nadal says he feels ‘alive again’

Eva to the rescue

Daniil Medvedev moved into a second consecutive Australian Open final on Friday, but not before he went on an explosive rant on court, abusing the chair umpire and calling him “stupid” and a “small cat” for not giving his opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas a code violation for coaching.

The world No.2, who won in four sets, was complaining about Tsitsipas’ father and coach, Apostolos, for consistently talking during the match and asked the umpire if he understood Greek to determine whether Tsitsipas should be coded for illegal coaching or not.

Shortly after, Greek tennis umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore was called to Rod Laver Arena and she stood in the tunnel, right underneath Tsitsipas’ box, so she could monitor Apostolos’ actions. Moments later, she signalled to the chair umpire to tell him Tsitsipas’ father has indeed committed a coaching violation and the No.4 seed was immediately given a code.

You can’t make this stuff up!

Stafanos Tsitsipas’ father Apostolos was the centre of controversy during the Australian Open semi-final match against Daniil Medvedev

Image credit: Getty Images

Tsitsipas later said he felt like he has been a “victim” to chair umpires always giving him coaching violations, even though he can never hear what his father is saying, and prefers not to be given tips during matches.

The 23-year-old also explained that it is a problem that will continue, given his father’s tendency to talk during matches, and he wished the sport would just legalise coaching from the stands because “coaches do it anyway”.

“I’ve had that discussion. My father, look, he’s a person that when he gets into something when there is a lot of action, his medicine is to talk, and you can’t stop it. It’s something that he does from nature,” said Tsitsipas.

“I’ve talked to him about it. I’ve tried, spent countless hours trying to figure it out with him, but it’s part of him.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep receiving coaching violations, even though I will never listen to any single thing he says. But it’s fine, they can do that if they want, if they believe it’s right.”

‘Are you stupid?’ – Medvedev lets rip at umpire over Tsitsipas ‘coaching from father’

Very superstitious (*in Stevie Wonder’s voice*)

We all know Nadal loves his on-court routines; from meticulously placing his water bottles in the same spot, facing a certain direction, to his pre-serving habits like fixing his shorts and his hair before tossing the ball.

Turns out, Nadal isn’t the only one on his team with unshakeable habits. His good friend Marc Lopez, a new addition to the Mallorcan’s coaching staff, told Spanish radio show El Larguero that he refuses to shave as long as Nadal is winning.

“I won’t shave my beard because I’m superstitious,” confessed Lopez. “I wanted to cut my hair and shave in Barcelona before travelling but when Rafa started to win, I decided not to cut my hair nor shave for superstition. Sorry for how I look.”

Just hang on for two more days, Marc!

Belgian teen soaks up the Greek support

The massive Greek community in Melbourne has gotten used to turning up big for Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari these past few years at the Australian Open.

But this year, Greek fans have also turned their attention to the junior tournament where Belgium’s Sofia Costoulas, who has strong Greek roots, has marched into the girls’ singles final.

The 16-year-old Costoulas started playing tennis because of Belgian four-time major champion Kim Clijsters and references Greek pair Tsitsipas and Sakkari as players she loves to watch.

“My Greek culture is very important to me. I love Greek culture and I love Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari. I look up to them both and I love that I am a little bit Greek,” Costoulas told reporters in Melbourne this week.

“I have a lot of family in Greece and I could speak fluent Greek when I was little.”

Costoulas, who is 11-0 win-loss this season, is looking to become the first Grand Slam junior champion from Belgium since 2012, when Kimmer Coppejans claimed victory in boys’ singles at Roland Garros.

Sofia Costoulas of Belgium plays a backhand in her Junior Girls Singles Quarterfinals match against Diana Shnaider of Russia during day 11 of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/

Image credit: Getty Images

Busiest bee in town

One junior player who deserves a proper shout-out is 17-year-old Aussie Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz, who lost to Costoulas in the junior semis on Friday.

The South Australian was entered in four different events at this Australian Open and she contested 12 matches overall this fortnight at Melbourne Park.

She fell in three tight sets to Kateryna Bondarenko in the opening round of women’s qualifying, made the second round in women’s doubles alongside Kimberly Birrell, and reached the junior semi-finals in both singles and doubles.

That is some serious dedication to maximising on one’s opportunities.

“I grew up watching Ash (Barty) a lot. She’s been a big part of my development,” says Kempenaers-Pocz.

Asked if she is in contact with Barty or has received any advice from her, she said: “Not yet, but I did bump into her once and she knew my name; so I’m happy with that.”

Flexing for dad

Also through to the girls’ singles final is junior world No.1 Petra Marcinko, who survived a tight three-setter against American Liv Hovde and celebrated by looking towards her box and flexing her right biceps.

“There is this inside joke, because I have like no muscles, so it’s like I’m so strong. It was towards my dad. It’s more like sarcastic,” laughed the 16-year-old Croatian.

We recall a young Andy Murray doing the same thing!

Quote of the day

“Of course my goal now is to win. Of course always with competitive spirit that I have, because I can’t go against that; it’s my personal DNA. But being very honest, for me it’s much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win the 21, no?

“Because that’s makes me more happy in terms of general life, to be able to do the thing that I like to do more than achieving another Grand Slam.

“At the end of the day, the life, it’s about happiness and what makes me happy.”

— Another life lesson from Nadal.

‘Maybe a chance to say goodbye’ – Nadal admits he was close to retiring before Australian Open

Stats of the day

– Nadal reached the sixth Australian Open final of his career, and 29th Grand Slam final overall.

– His victory over Berrettini was his 75th match-win at the Australian Open and his 500th career match-win on hard courts.

– It was also Nadal’s 50th win against a top-10 player at a Grand Slam. Meanwhile Berrettini remains winless against top-10 opposition at the majors, falling behind to 0-7.

– At 35 years 241 days, Nadal is fourth-oldest man in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final, after Ken Rosewall (who reached six major finals aged older than Nadal is now), Roger Federer (who has made three Grand Slam finals aged older than Nadal is now) and Mal Anderson (who reached the Australian Open final in 1972 aged 36 years 306 days).

– Medvedev is through to a fourth Grand Slam final which sees him equal Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka in fifth place on the list for most major final appearances among active male players.

– Tsitsipas won just 14 out of 100 receiving points through four sets against Medvedev.

– – –

Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99

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Becker says Medvedev outburst ‘the decisive moment’ in win against Tsitsipas

Daniil Medvedev’s outburst during his Australian Open semi-final triumph against Stefanos Tsitsipas was “the decisive moment in the match”, according to Boris Becker.

Having been broken twice before losing the second set to Tsitsipas, Medvedev flew into a rage at umpire Jaume Campistol and accused him of allowing his opponent’s father, Apostolos Tsitsipas, to coach him through the match point by point. “Are you stupid?” he screamed at the changeover.

“Are you mad? Are you mad? And his father can talk every point? Wrong!” he went on. “His father can talk every point? His father can talk every point! His father can talk every point?! Answer my question!

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“Will you answer my question? Can you answer my question please? Can his father talk every point?

“Oh my god! Oh my god! You are so bad, man! My god, how can you be so bad in a semi-final of a Grand Slam? Look at me! I am talking to you!”

While the explosive rant didn’t earn Medvedev many friends at Rod Laver Arena, it did seem to galvanise him. Having let off steam, he returned to the court with renewed focus and took the next two sets to win 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 6-1.

‘Every match against Stefanos is special’ – Medvedev on fiery rivalry with Tsitsipas

Afterwards, on Eurosport Germany’s Matchball Becker show, Becker identified the blow-up as a turning point in the match. “Millions of people watch the match,” he said. “Of course, that was the decisive moment of the match.

“Medvedev was warned, but of course he hit a sensitive spot. Tsitsipas has been coached by his father for years, that’s no secret.

“I still saw a chance for Tsitsipas to pull away because Medvedev was emotionally very battered. He didn’t do that. Medvedev calmed down again and the match took its course.”

Assessing the match itself, Becker suggested that the world No. 2 fully deserved his win. “You have to be fair, it was an absolutely high-class match for three sets, world-class in parts,” he said.

‘That was a big mistake’ – Medvedev regrets rant at umpire over Tsitsipas ‘coaching’

“The emotions went back and forth. Some of the things Medvedev said after the second set were very juvenile. But, towards the end, Tsitsipas dropped a bit and looked almost helpless on the court, also because his father got a warning for coaching. Things didn’t go well for the Greek. But one thing is for sure, Daniil Medvedev was the better player.”

The six-time Grand Slam winner and former world No. 1 also expressed his delight that Medvedev will face Rafael Nadal in the men’s singles final on Sunday.

“For me, the two best players are in the final. For Nadal, I’m happy because I’m a big fan of him and I was worried after his surgery. But Nadal wouldn’t be Nadal if he didn’t have a chance to win every time he plays a tournament,” he said.

“Nadal has earned his status over the years. He says the right things even after the match. You can’t say that about Medvedev, who is very honest. That’s not always good.

“But Daniil also earned a few hearts here, especially with his fighting performance.”

Despite Medvedev’s fury over his father’s perceived interference and an eventual warning from the umpire, Tsitsipas laughed off accusations of in-match coaching afterwards. “You saw me the other day, losing the score twice in two of my matches… I cannot hear anything when I’m playing, it’s impossible,” he said.

“Having the crowd being so loud in every single point, I mean, you have to have super hearing to be able to hear what your coach says.”

Highlights: Medvedev edges out Tsitsipas in heated battle to reach final

– – –

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Medvedev: ‘I Know What I’m Capable Of’

Daniil Medvedev revealed he is not feeling the pressure and believes he can win the title on Sunday at the Australian Open after he moved past fourth-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas to set up a clash against Rafael Nadal in Melbourne.

The Russian is aiming to become the first man to follow his maiden major crown with his second at the next Grand Slam event, after beating Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. His triumph over the World No. 1 in New York gave Medvedev a renewed sense of confidence, which he has used in Australia.

“I really don’t have much pressure. I know what I’m capable of when I’m playing well. I know that I can beat anybody,” Medvedev said in his post-match press conference on Friday. “The second round against Nick [Kyrgios] was a tight one. But it gave me a lot of confidence in my own power, in my own tennis.

“I know [after the US Open] that I’m capable of winning seven matches in a row and the last one against Novak was epic. So, I knew before this tournament that it is possible. That is what I’m trying to prove.”

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This fortnight the 13-time tour-level titlist has edged Kyrgios, Maxime Cressy and Tsitsipas in four sets, while he saved a match point en route to his five-set victory against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals. His two other wins at Melbourne Park came against Henri Laaksonen and Botic van de Zandschulp

It is a run the 25-year-old has thoroughly enjoyed as he aims to go one step further this year in Melbourne compared to 12 months ago, when he lost to Djokovic in the championship match.

“It’s been great,” Medvedev said while smiling. “It’s definitely been emotional. It started with the match against Nick, which was just emotional in all aspects. I think it started there and this energy kept on going with different ones in every match. Some matches were mad. The Felix match was just crazy in terms of tennis and the score. My matches with Stefanos are always emotional. It’s been a great run and I’m happy that I have the chance to win the title on Sunday.”

The second seed will compete in his fourth major final when he plays Nadal on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday. It will be the second time the World No. 2 has faced the Spaniard in the championship match of a Grand Slam, after losing to him in a five-set thriller at the US Open in 2019. Medvedev’s other two meetings at this stage of a major came against Djokovic.

“They are really strong,” Medvedev said when asked about the Big 3. “It’s really tough to get into the final, and I always have them there waiting for me. But it’s fun. When I was eight or 10 years old I was playing against the wall and I was imagining that it was Rafa on the other side, or Roger [Federer]. Novak was still not yet there.

“Now I have the chance to play a second time [against Nadal]. [The] first one was close, an epic one. I’m going to try to prepare well, and [I] need to show my best, because that’s what I took of the three finals that I played before, that you have to do better than 100 per cent in order to win.”

Nadal leads Medvedev 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, with the Russian’s only victory coming on hard at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2020.

On the challenge of facing the sixth seed, Medvedev added: “[It will probably be a] physical match. Rafa likes to drag people into long rallies. I like it too. I think it is going to be a great battle. But again, I remember last year’s final in Australia, even if it was against a different opponent. I’m going to try to be more ready, more focused, fighting more, and give it everything I have in terms of tennis, both physically and mentally.”

'Maybe a chance to say goodbye' – Nadal admits he was close to retiring

Rafael Nadal admits he has spent a lot of time thinking about saying “goodbye” to tennis, as he prepares to fight for his 21st major title.

The 35-year-old has the chance to secure the record for most Grand Slam wins in the men’s game if he takes victory in the Australian Open final against world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.

Taking the trophy away from Melbourne will see Nadal move one major triumph ahead of his long-time rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at the summit of world tennis.

Australian Open

‘My favourite has always been Rafa’ – Ruud backing Nadal for record-breaking win


Following his four-set semi-final win against Matteo Berrettini, Nadal’s been reflecting on the tough times he’s faced to get himself back to fitness.

“As I said, no, I went through a lot of challenging moments, a lot of days of hard work without seeing a light there. But still working and still receiving plenty of support from my team and from my family, too, without a doubt,” he said.

A foot injury took Nadal out of action for several months last year, but he finally made his competitive return during the Australian swing, and is now just one win away from his first title since the French Open in 2020.

Highlights: Nadal closes on 21st Grand Slam title by beating Berrettini to reach final

However, Nadal has revealed he’s come very close to calling time on his tennis career on several occasions.

“Yeah, I mean, a lot of conversations with the team, with the family about what can happen or what is going to happen if the things continue like this, thinking that maybe is a chance to say goodbye. So, I mean, that was not a lot of months ago”, he said.

After his triumph on Rod Laver Arena against Berrettini, Nadal admits he felt overwhelmed, despite being extremely grateful to still be playing the game.

“To be able to be where I am today, I don’t know, I really can’t explain in words how important is for me in terms of energy, in terms of personal satisfaction, in terms of being very thankful for all the support that I received from the fans and especially from the people really close to me.”

‘Everyone talked about Djokovic, they forgot to talk about Nadal’ – McEnroe

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Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99

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‘I think Novak will be watching’ – Medvedev out to stop Nadal’s 21st party


Australian Open

Medvedev harnesses rage to set up Nadal showdown


'My favourite has always been Rafa' – Ruud backing Nadal for record-breaking win

Norwegian tennis player Casper Ruud is backing Rafael Nadal to make history and win a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

Daniil Medvedev stands in the way of Nadal claiming the record, after he beat Daniil Medvedev to secure his spot in the Melbourne final.

Nadal remains locked alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on 20 career major titles, with many suggesting whoever ends their career out in front will be remembered as the greatest player of all time.

Australian Open

‘I think Novak will be watching’ – Medvedev out to stop Nadal’s 21st party


Thinking about who the stand-out figure is out of the trio, Ruud tells Eurosport it’s a “very tough, tough question”.

‘Everyone talked about Djokovic, they forgot to talk about Nadal’ – McEnroe

“My personal favourite has always been Rafa because I watched him for so many years”, he said, having seen the 35-year-old get past Matteo Berrettini in five sets in their Melbourne semi-final.

Ruud has fond recollections of seeing Nadal in action from a very early age, saying “even the first memory I have of watching TV is him winning his first Roland Garros. I still remember he’s playing sleeveless against Puerta I think in the final.

Running around like a maniac and getting every ball back.

That victory on the French clay in 2005 was the start of something special for Nadal, who went on to win the tournament four years in a row, as he collected his first batch of major trophies.

Not only was that the beginning of his rise to superstardom, but, little did the Spaniard know, he was also inspiring the next generation of players.

“That’s like the first memory I even have myself of watching TV and thinking myself when I was six, seven years old that I would like to be on the screen myself, so in a way he’s the one who started my motivation for tennis so it’s tough for me not to say him”, said Ruud, who was forced to pull out of this year’s Australian Open through injury.

After his dominance in France in the early noughties, Nadal went on to sample success at the other Grand Slams, taking the Wimbledon title in 2008, as well as winning in Melbourne in 2009 – a title he has not won since.

Highlights: Nadal closes on 21st Grand Slam title by beating Berrettini to reach final

After having to go toe-to-toe with Federer in his early days of challenging for the majors, a new nemesis soon arrived in the shape of Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian denied Nadal victory in three successive Grand Slam finals, at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011, as well as the 2012 Australian Open.

Since then, Nadal’s won ten of the major finals he’s appeared in, losing just once apiece to Federer and Djokovic in a showpiece match, and going down to Stan Wawrinka in Melbourne in 2014.

The topsy-turvy battle over the years between Nadal, Federer and Djokovic has intrigued and excited tennis fans in equal measure, and Ruud thinks it’s so difficult to split them.

“I think when we look at the Slams, it’s all even. Let’s see what happens after this week but when it comes to all other records, you can’t deny that Novak maybe has a couple more records than the other ones, but for them it seems like the Grand Slam count is the ultimate thing that they want to achieve and I think they’ve all kind of approached it differently”, he said.

One thing Ruud thinks sets Nadal apart is his humble nature, saying, “I’ve seen Rafa say, for him, I don’t think his happiness depends whether who has the most in the end, but I’m sure when he plays the final he will have in the back of his mind that this is a good chance for him to maybe get another one.”

Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99

Australian Open

‘Are you stupid??’ – Medvedev explodes with anger over Tsitsipas ‘coaching from dad’


Australian Open

Nadal is ‘unique, special’ talent – Corretja on Spaniard’s run to AO final


Tsitsipas Views Medvedev Defeat As Important ‘Lesson’

Despite falling at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open for a third time on Friday, Stefanos Tsitsipas was feeling positive following his defeat to Daniil Medvedev as he looks to use the experience to develop further.

“I have a long season ahead of me, with a lot of opportunities,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match press conference. “I’m going to try and grab and get the best out of my tennis and get the best out of this experience, so that I can always work towards and help myself improve physically, mentally and improve my game generally. I see today’s performance as a lesson that I can use to move forward.”

The Greek rallied to level the match after losing the first set, but could not find a way past the World No. 2, who prevailed in four sets on Rod Laver Arena. The clash was a repeat of last year’s semi-final in Melbourne, when Medvedev also triumphed, before he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final.

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However, the fourth seed, who was making his fifth appearance at the first Grand Slam of the season, was more proud of how he competed on Friday compared to the year before.

“I played way better than I did last time,” Tsitsipas said. “Last year I was completely cooked and exhausted after that five-set match with Rafa [Nadal]. I wasn’t able to recover the way I wanted to recover, and this year I was really into it from the very first point.

“I felt good with my shots, felt good mentally, I felt good in terms of belief and in terms of feeling that passion in the court. I was very close. The first tie-break was an important one. I feel like I could have won that one. Maybe should have followed a different tactic. But again [it is] a lesson. I think it would have been a different match winning that first set.”

The Greek, who underwent elbow surgery in the off-season, praised the performance and work ethic of Medvedev, with the Russian improving to 7-2 in their ATP Head2Head series with his victory.

“He’s a great competitor,” Tsitsipas added. “He runs like [a] marathon runner, he can run for hours and hours. I respect the fact that he’s able to run so much and make it physical out there in every single point. He’s one of the biggest fighters, together with Nadal. He’s earned the win.”

While Tsitsipas’ wait for his first major title goes on, the seven-time tour-level champion believes he will experience success in Melbourne one day.

“Australia has a special place in my heart, and I always feel like I’m at home here,” Tsitsipas said. “I strongly believe I will be able to do very well here one day and give that joy and that happiness to Aussies here and the Greek community. It is a tournament that I very much love, and it is a tournament that I want to thrive at one day.”