Novak Djokovic names player who is ‘leading next generation’ after Federer and Nadal

Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.

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Novak Djokovic has tipped Daniil Medvedev to lead men’s tennis when he and his long-time rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, have retired. The Serb recently made more history at the Rolex Paris Masters, claiming the year-end No 1 ranking for a record seventh time, as well as winning a record 37th Masters 1000 title.

Djokovic was able to get revenge for his crushing US Open defeat at his very next tournament after losing the final in Flushing Meadows.

The world No 1 came within one match of being the first man in 52 years to achieve the Calendar Grand Slam, and the first male singles player in history to win a record 21st Major title, but lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

After almost two months away from competition, Djokovic made his return to the match court in Paris last week and faced the Russian in the final once again.

The Serb, who had already secured a record seventh finish as year-end No 1 with his semi-final win, came from a set down to get revenge over the world No 2 with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win, earning himself a record 37th Masters 1000 title, having previously shared the record of 36 with Nadal.

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Following his victory, Djokovic praised his US Open conqueror for his strong game, and tipped Medvedev to lead the next generation of tennis players.

“There are no holes in his game right now. Both forehand and backhand are very solid,” the recent Paris Masters champion said of his opponent.

“Running forehand from mid court, something that probably wasn’t his forte in the past, he has improved a lot.

“It’s just he always makes you play. He has a way to come back to the point from really difficult positions. For someone of his height, the movement and the defence is fantastic. And also, he has improved in his aggressive style.”

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The 20-time Grand Slam champion also complimented Medvedev for his work ethic, admitting he didn’t think it would be long until the Russian overtook him and reached world No 1 for the first time in his career.

Djokovic continued: “He’s one of the guys that you see, where you see the commitment and devotion to everyday training and trying to perfect his game.

“He’s a very smart and nice guy. Tries to maximize his potential.

“He’s closing in on the world No 1 rankings. I’m sure he’s going to get it eventually, and when he does, it’s completely deserved, because he’s the leader of the next generation of players.”

With Djokovic and Nadal now well into their thirties, and Federer having turned 40 earlier this year, the 25-year-old could be the next champion of the game once the Big Three have retired.

He became the second first-time Major champion since 2014, and the second born in the 1990s, after now-28-year-old Dominic Thiem won the US Open in 2020.

Thiem had originally been seen as the next multiple Grand Slam champion in tennis, having made three finals at Major level before clinching his first title, but has spent 2021 hampered by injuries.

The likes of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have also been tipped to go on to achieve success, but it’s the Russian who has been named by one of tennis’ greats, Djokovic, to be the best of the bunch at the moment.
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