New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg took to Twitter the morning before the Men’s Australian Open Final, sharing a screenshot from Head’s website congratulating Novak Djokovic on a “record” ninth Australian Open title.
Head is the sponsor of Djokovic’s racket, with the image of the Serbian star throughout his advertising as one of the best ambassadors for the company.
Rothenberg, the journalist whose No remaining challenge podcast sent nuclear feud between Nick Kyrgios and Djokovic after the Aussie gave his brutally honest thoughts on controversial World No.1, tweeted the screenshot, which appeared to be from a page on Head’s website, with the caption: “HEAD takes a head.”
Wide World of Sports attempted to find the page on Head’s website, but could not.
Djokovic won eight open from Australia titles and will play for his ninth tomorrow night when he faces Russian star Daniil Medvedev, who has won 20 straight games and is arguably the hottest player on the ATP Tour.
While the Serbian star will start Sunday night’s game as a favorite, Medvedev is arguably the toughest game you can throw against the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
The duo have fought seven times with Djokovic holding a narrow 4-3 advantage, although the Russian world number 4 has won three of his last four clashes.
They last played in November in the ATP Finals, with Medvedev coming out strong, 6-3 6-3 en route to the biggest title of his career. He also beat World No.2 Rafael Nadal and World No.3 Dominic Thiem in this tournament.
Speaking ahead of Medvedev’s sparkling semi-final victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas Nine’s Jim Courier said Djokovic would be much happier facing the Greek for the trophy on Sunday night.
“… if he plays against Medvedev it will be super physical and keep in mind that in the third round of this tournament Novak suffered an injury in the middle of the section and that blocked him a bit”, Courier told Wide World of Sports’ Morning service yesterday.
“He’s made his way to another final, don’t get me wrong, he knows how to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but he hasn’t been 100% and facing Medvedev promises to be very, very physical. .
“And I think Novak would like something a little more predictable and maybe a little shorter.”
Novak Djokovic says he felt his best in semi-final win
There is already a bit of lead for the final, with Djokovic telling Eurosport on Thursday night that after winning the eight Australian Open finals he played at Rod Laver Arena, he had nothing to fear from an adversary of the “ next generation ” which has not yet changed the world order of tennis, with the “big three” of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer still the giants of the sport.
“Of course, they will be the leaders of the future of tennis, without a doubt, but I am not going to stand here and give them a voice,” he said.
“I’m gonna make them work their ass for this,
“With all due respect to the other guys, they still have a lot of work to do.”
Medvedev, who is never the type to avoid a fight, used Djokovic’s words against him after winning his semi-final, claiming he had no pressure to win, because the Serbian had to make every position a winner to chase Federer and Nadal at the top of the Grand Slam standings.
Medvedev mocks Tsitsipas with a ‘physical sledge’
“I think he’s the favorite because he hasn’t lost. Eight times that he’s been here in the semi-finals he has won the tournament,” Medvedev said after his semi-final victory.
“I’m the challenger, the guy who challenges the guy who’s been in the final eight times and won eight times, and I’m happy for that.
“When I say no pressure, for sure when we go out we both feel pressure. I want to win my first. He wants to win No. 18. We don’t know who the crowd will be for.
“It’s all the little things. I think if we’re talking in general, well, I’ve got nothing to lose, to be honest.”
Medvedev added that Djokovic has every right to be treated like the king of tennis until someone takes his throne from him.
Medvedev wows commentators with wild pass
“When Novak says he won’t give someone anything, I believe him. I’m not going to say that I don’t trust him. I trust him,” he said.
“So I know to beat him you just have to show your best tennis, be your best physically maybe four or five, and mentally your best maybe five.
“I never know how the game is going to go. I would say winning a Slam, especially against someone (like) Novak, is already a big motivation, and I don’t think there is anything that can make it bigger.
“I love Novak. I enjoy him as a tennis player, and I should say as a person.
“So I don’t take those words for sure as something negative. Like I said, I’m pretty motivated without those words.”
Medvedev has built a reputation for using external sources to put a chip on his shoulder, giving him an edge when he goes out on the pitch.
Medvedev silences the crowd as he exhausts Tsitsipas
He appreciates the crowds that huddle against him, much the same way as Djokovic.
So, anyone from Head made a mistake in posting a preemption webpage celebrating a Grand Slam victory that Djokovic may not have just given his Russian opponent ammunition for Sunday yet.
That’s bad news for the world No.1, even if he deserves his ‘favorite’ label for what is emerging as an absorbing Australian Open decision maker.
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