Daniil Medvedev leaves the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals with a slice of history, but perhaps not the kind he wants to remember.

The World No. 5 fell short in three deciding-set tiebreaks this week, including two where he served for the match, against Stefanos Tsitsipas (Wednesday) and Novak Djokovic on Friday, when Medvedev lost a three hour, 11 minute marathon.

“It’s a disaster,” Medvedev said in his post-match press conference. “What I’m really happy is that this match didn’t count in going out of the group, otherwise I would have two matches where I lost serving for the match. At least this one didn’t count. I’m going to try to be better next time. I have no other choice.”

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Medvedev entered Friday’s match having already been eliminated from title contention, but the 26-year-old fought until the bitter end. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion even served for the match at 5-4 in the final set, letting slip a golden opportunity to hand Djokovic his first loss of the week.

Medvedev, who has finished no worse than runner-up at the past two Nitto ATP Finals, admitted that it was initially tough to get up for Friday’s match after a frustrating week. His mindset quickly began to change in the early stages as he witnessed five-time champion Djokovic firing on all cylinders. The match turned into a gruelling contest from the baseline that pushed both players to the brink physically.

“It was not easy,” Medvedev said. “But during the match I thought I saw he was going 100%. I was like, ‘Alright, let’s play, let’s have fun’.”

Despite always playing Djokovic close in their 12 meetings (Djokovic leads their ATP Head2Head 8-4), including denying the Serbian’s calendar-year Grand Slam quest at the 2021 US Open, Medvedev doesn’t put himself in the same category as the 21-time major champion. 

“We’ve had some tough battles,” Medvedev said. “He’s leading in head-to-head, even if I won some important matches. [I’m] definitely not close to Novak. Maybe when we play, yes, but in general you cannot compare myself to him or any one of the Big Three.”

A two-time titlist this season (Los Cabos and Vienna), Medvedev ends his season with a 45-19 record. Shortly after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open, Medvedev climbed to World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. As Medvedev departs Italy with disappointment, he will quickly realign his focus to gear up for a strong showing in 2023.

“In general after the Australian Open I cannot find huge results from myself,” Medvedev said. “Even if I made some finals, won [two] tournaments. I didn’t play bad. I’m in Torino in the top eight. But I would expect more from myself.

“[In] Vienna and Astana I played great, today I played great. I’m confident I’m going to be able to do something big in the future. Just need to continue working. Going to be sad for one, two days, then enjoy my days off, then get ready for the next season.”

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