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The statistics that defined 2022 – Medvedev struggles in deciders and against top-10

2022 was a strange year for Daniil Medvedev, defined by his rise to No 1 but also an inexplicable lack of success against the top 10

Daniil Medvedev loses US Open 2022 Daniil Medvedev loses US Open 2022 – © Zuma / Panoramic

What went wrong with Daniil Medvedev in 2022? Nothing that a few clutch performances can’t fix… 

The Russian had a memorable year in many ways – some good, some bad – but ultimately came away with the feeling that he left too much on the table in a 2022 season that saw him rise to the No 1 ranking but finish, disappointingly, at No 7. 

Struggles against the top 10 and in deciding sets 

There was a pivotal moment in January, when Medvedev led Rafael Nadal by two sets to love in the Australian Open final, that the air of invincibility seemed to vanish. Medvedev couldn’t hold onto his lead against Nadal and ended up with a heartbreaking defeat in five sets. It would be one that would take up residence in the back of his mind for the remainder of the season. 

Not surprisingly, Medvedev’s campaing ended in similar fashion: he failed to close out matches against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals, even as he served for both matches, and he lost all three third-set tiebreaks he played in Turin. 

Daniil Medvedev during the 2022 Australian Open trophy presentation
Daniil Medvedev during the 2022 Australian Open trophy presentation Image Credit: Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Medvedev isn’t quite sure where his difficulties are coming from, but even he didn’t rule out that there is some dark emotional baggage still lingering from the Nadal loss. 

“Did the final in Australia break me? It’s never known,” he said in October. 

Eight straight losses – and counting – against the top 10 

Medvedev has now lost his last eight matches against top-10 opposition, with six of those defeats coming in a deciding set. It’s a remarkable stat, especially when we consider that he had won 20 of his previous 27 matches against the top 10. 

What do the struggles mean to Medvedev? 

“It means I was not good enough. It means I was not good enough, and I have to be better,” he said in Turin. “Mentally, I don’t care. I don’t care if I play a top-10 or not. But tennis-wise it’s tougher to play a top-10 player. That means I have to play better tennis against these guys. That’s what I’m going to try to do next time because there is no other choice.”

Deciders decided his fate 

Also bizarre, given the fact that Medvedev had established himself as a rock in deciding sets across the previous two seasons, was the fact that Medvedev went 4-11 in deciding sets. 

Medvedev had won 23 of his 32 deciding sets across 2020 and 2021. 

Whether we chalk it up to bad luck or a crisis of confidence – or both – Medvedev’s mission is clear in 2023: play better in the clutch moments and good things will happen. 

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