Daniil Medvedev put in the best performance of his career in the 2021 US Open final last week, outscoring Novak Djokovic to win his first major title. But two years ago, Medvedev had a considerably less pleasant period at this very stage of the tournament, losing to Rafael Nadal in five sets.
The Russian struggled for some time to decode Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, who all beat him at the Slams in 2019-2020. But Medvedev has played with new confidence this year, and with his title at Flushing Meadows he solidified his place at the top of the table.
That said, the 25-year-old may well be wondering where he would have been if he hadn’t stumbled in his previous two finals. While no player likes to dwell on the past, Medvedev could have been a titlist on multiple occasions if he had won the 2019 US Open final or the 2021 Australian Open final.
So when the ATP Twitter account asked fans what outcome in tennis history they would like to change, Daniil Medvedev was quick to jump in.
The Russian responded to the tweet with a photo from the 2019 US Open trophy presentation, which showed him standing next to a victorious Rafael Nadal. The answer was probably a joke, but it left no doubt about the historic outcome Daniil Medvedev would like to change and why.
Daniil Medvedev led Rafael Nadal closely in 2019 US Open final
Rafael Nadal won his fourth US Open title and 19th Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2019 with a five-set victory over Daniil Medvedev. The game was as close as it gets, and with a bit of luck here and there the outcome could have been different.
Nadal got off to an explosive start, comfortably winning the first two sets. He then looked on track to win the match in straight sets as it broke for a 3-2 lead in the third set.
Daniil Medvedev refused to leave, however, shattering Rafael Nadal’s serve by producing stunning tennis under pressure. The Russian then tied the game in straight sets, but survived in the deciding set; Nadal ultimately took a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
Medvedev received massive cheers from the Arthur Ashe stadium crowd for the way he spent nearly five hours with the Spaniard. And although he didn’t win a Grand Slam for two years, that first experience likely helped the 25-year-old get off to a quicker start in the 2021 final against Novak Djokovic.
There was a wide variety of answers to the hypothetical ATP question aside from Daniil Medvedev’s answer. A Roger Federer fan named “Blank” reflected on the 2009 US Open final against Juan Martin del Potro, saying the Swiss could probably have prepared for a non-Calendar Grand Slam had he won that match.
Another fan named “Kyle” replied that Andy Roddick’s loss to Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final was heartbreaking to watch.
Of course, several people have named the Wimbledon 2019 final, which Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic despite two match points. There were also a few mentions of the 2017 Australian Open final, where Rafael Nadal lost to the Swiss after breaking up with the decision maker.