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ATP No. 1 Ranking Not a Short-Term Goal For Medvedev, who Plans on Celebrating US Open Tennis Title

Daniil Medvedev raises the championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

By Ricky Dimon

Heading into the 2021 U.S. Open, Daniil Medvedev was already a four-time Masters 1000 champion, a Nitto ATP Finals champ, an ATP Cup winner, and a two-time Grand Slam runner-up.

The next logical step in his career was to become a major champion. And that is exactly what Medvedev achieved, upsetting Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday’s final.

Already No. 2 in the world for several months, Medvedev is now even farther ahead of other top 10 players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Rafael Nadal. The Russian is still much closer to No. 3 (Tsitsipas) than he is to No. 1 (Djokovic), but his next milestone achievement could be that top spot.

No. 1 is not really on Medvedev’s mind, however.

“I have Paris and Nitto ATP Finals to defend; Novak, I don’t think he has much to defend,” the 25-year-old explained. “I think honestly it’s almost impossible (this year).

“If we talk about (my) schedule, what can I change? There is Indian Wells, there is Paris Bercy, Turin, and Vienna. Vienna is in the week of St. Petersburg. I’m definitely not going to play it because I probably won’t play St. Pete also. In the week of St. Pete, which is a Russian tournament, I’m not going to play anything else. Let’s hope I win Indian Wells, Bercy, and Turin. It’s a tough challenge. I’m just happy to win a major. I’m going to do my best in every tournament I’m playing.

“That’s not my first goal in my mind to try to achieve it this year. If I manage to do it one day, it’s great.”

Daniil Medvedev of Russia (R) and US tennis legend Stan Smith (L) examine the championship trophy after Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

Medvedev is probably correct in his assessment that the No. 1 ranking is out of the question before the end of 2021. He still trails Djokovic by 1,353 and will struggle to add points since he won the Paris Masters and the Nitto ATP Finals last fall. Djokovic’s 2020 indoor hard-court swing included a quarterfinal loss in Vienna (Lorenzo Sonego) and a semifinal loss in London (Dominic Thiem).

Thus, at least for now, Medvedev is going to turn his attention to celebrating his U.S. Open triumph as opposed to playing more tennis and adding points.

“That’s my first Grand Slam; I don’t know how I’m going to feel if I win a second one or third one,” he noted. “That’s my first one, so I’m really happy; means a lot to me.

“After winning in Canada, I knew I had Cincinnati next to try to prepare well for the U.S. Open, so I couldn’t even celebrate in a way. I needed to get on the plane and get ready for my first round. Here I know I don’t have anything coming in [the near] future, so I know how to celebrate.

“Russians know how to celebrate. Hopefully I will not get in the news. If I [do], it’s going to be in a good way. But I’m going to definitely celebrate the next few days.”Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.