Djokovic was not always a rock. Early in his career, he had a reputation for frequently taking injury timeouts and withdrawing from games. In 2008 at the US Open, American star Andy Roddick mocked Djokovic at a press conference by reciting a mostly fictitious laundry list of his ailments, including both ankles, “one back and a hip, cramp, bird flu, anthrax, SARS, common cough and cold. “
Did Djokovic bluff during matches?
Roddick objected. “If it’s there, it’s there,” he said. “There are just a lot. Either he quickly calls a coach or he’s the bravest guy ever. I think it’s up to you to decide.
This exchange seems to be ancient history. Djokovic addressed his stamina issues and breathing difficulties with two surgeries for a deviated septum and a switch in 2010 to a gluten-free diet, largely plant-based.
He’s become an ironman, and more than a decade later, the younger ones still can’t keep up. After beating Zverev, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, Djokovic’s five-set record was a phenomenal 36-10.
The last man who can stop the Grand Slam is Medvedev, 25, a skinny, trilingual Russian who is ranked No.2 and is at his best on hard surfaces.
He lost the 2019 US Open final in five sets to Nadal, and Medvedev’s sparkling form early in this season made many expect another classic game when he faced Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open.
Instead, Djokovic won, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, shattering the game and the spirit of Medvedev after a tight first set. But Medvedev, who has won 14 of his last 15 matches, has had a more restful journey to the final in New York than Djokovic, losing just one set to six for Djokovic.