Daniil Medvedev shared an anecdote about playing with Novak Djokovic as a youngster, while collecting his Australian Open runner-up trophy.
World number one Djokovic won the Grand Slam final in three straight sets, outplaying and outclassing the Russian, despite a close first set.
Medvedev had come into the final on a 20-match winning streak but just couldn’t find his form against Djokovic who claimed his ninth Australian Open title winning 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
It means Djokovic now has 18 Grand Slam titles, just two behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 each.
Medvedev was clearly disappointed with his performance but was quick to praise Djokovic in his on-court speech and revealed a story from a few years earlier.
“It’s never easy to speak when you just lost a Grand Slam final, but I’ll do my best” said Medvedev.
“Congrats to Novak. Nine Slams in Australia is amazing and this won’t be your last one.
“Just to tell you a small story, I first met Novak when I was 500 or 600 in the world. I thought OK, he’s not going to speak to me, because he was world number one.
“I was really shy. He was talking to me like I was a friend. He’s never changed – he’s always been a great sport and a great friend.”
Medvedev went on to to apologise to the crowd in Rod Laver Arena for not making the match last longer.
“Last but not least I would like to thank you guys for inviting us here. I really wanted to make this match longer and more entertaining for you, but today was not the day.”
Djokovic returned the compliment in his speech adding “I would like to return nice words to Daniil. You’re a class act and a great person. We used to spend more time together and practice together.
“You’ve not called me that much over the last two years. It was nice to see you were thinking good things about me” joked Djokovic.
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