Medvedev said that the match against the reigning US Open champion was the toughest victory in his life. “To make Dominic tired in a three-set match, not a five-set, I think is a great achievement.”
The 24-year-old beat Thiem 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 despite his opponent’s pure physical strength.
Described by commentator Mats Wilander as a “chess player” on the court, Medvedev used his knack for strategy to fight back and even out the score in the second set.
His strategy of unpredictability continued in the deciding set, changing up his playing pattern almost constantly. Thiem’s intensity of play never wavered, but it was Medvedev that emerged victorious.
Expressionless, Medvedev made his way toward the net to meet his opponent. “I don’t celebrate my victories. That is my thing and I like it,” he said.
Flashy celebration or not, Medvedev’s win made history at the ATP Finals. He was unbeaten throughout the tournament, defeating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the group stage.
He also beat World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals and World No. 3 Thiem in the final.
He is the first player to have defeated the top-three-ranking players in a single edition of the tournament throughout its 50-year history.
“Hopefully we’re going to have a lot of matches like this.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 24, 2020
Content with his performance this past week, Medvedev is now setting his sights on next season’s major tournaments. “[This win is] a great boost of confidence for all the Slams coming up and all the tournaments. Hopefully, I can continue this way,” he said.
Medvedev’s victory was a fitting end to London’s 12-year reign as tournament host. In its first installation in 2009, one of Medvedev’s childhood heroes, Nikolay Davydenko, took home the trophy.
With Davydenko commentating on Sunday’s match for Russian TV, the story seems to have come full circle.
This tournament put a spotlight on the next generation of players vying to replace tennis greats like Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer. As the ATP final moves from London to Turin, Italy in 2021, fans can be sure that the future of men’s tennis is in good hands.