Djokovic-inspired Medjedovic defeats Fils to take ATP Next Gen title

(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images) /

Hamad Medjedovic said growing up he idolized Novak Djokovic. And why wouldn’t he? The 20-year-old Serb grew up in the shadow of the all-time great, many times practicing at the Novak Center and meeting Djokovic at age 10. Over the years, Djokovic has helped Medjedovic both financially and has advised him on how to get better at tennis.

On Saturday, Medjedovic looked quite good at the sport defeating Frenchman Arthur Fils in five sets 3-4(6) 4-1 4-2 3-4(9) 4-1 in the title match of the ATP Next Gen Finals. At times, Medjedovic looked to tighten quite a bit in the fourth set and in both tie-breaks, though. The closer he got to winning, the worse he played. This happens with young players (many times, all players) and Medjedovic will need to learn to handle his nerves better.

But in the fifth and final set, he erased Fils with ease, much in the same way he did in sets two and three. Medjedovic hit the ball cleanly in the three sets he won, both from his forehand and backhand, as he did not commit many unforced errors. His serve overpowered Fils.

Novak Djokovic has advised Medjedovic and it showed at the ATP Next Gen final

Fils did not play badly, either. His high-toss serve was placed perfectly a number of times, but this was Medjedovic’s week. He did not lose a match all tournament and broke the record for the number of aces at the event. Because he went undefeated and took the title, the young Serb earned a cool half a million dollars. He more than doubled his career earnings with the tournament win.

Medjedovic finished with 19 aces against Fils and just one double fault. He also had 34 winners to just 19 unforced errors. Though Fils is the more experienced player on the ATP tour, Medjedovic was able to better keep his poise in the fifth set and cooly and cruelly calculated his forehand placement and serve and dominated Fils when it mattered most.

Now the question is how well Medjedovic takes the momentum from winning the ATP Next Gen Finals into 2024. He moves well and his serve is already near-elite. Winning a tournament or two should be an expectation next year, though maybe not if he plays his hero, Novak Djokovic.

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