- 03 Mar 2021
After monumental efforts at the Australian Open in Melbourne, both runners-up have lost their very next matches – perhaps showing just how much Grand Slam tennis can take out of players, particularly at the business end of the tournament, where the pressure racks up.
Daniil Medvedev – who lost the men’s final in straight sets to Novak Djokovic – was defeated in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, losing to Dusan Lajovic 7-6(4), 6-4.
— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) March 3, 2021
It means he won’t reach a new career-high ranking of world No 2 this week – he needed to win the Rotterdam tournament to achieve that.
But at least he went into it knowing it would be difficult.
“The draw is really strong. I think for [an ATP] 500 event, it’s one of the strongest draws I’ve seen maybe ever,” Medvedev said in a pre-tournament press conference.
What a win for 🇷🇸 @Dutzee!
He take out Medvedev 7-6(4), 6-4 in R1 of Rotterdam. 👏 pic.twitter.com/GUe3ejYwGg
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 3, 2021
The beaten Australian Open finalist on the women’s side, Jennifer Brady, had a similarly disappointing return to action.
Defeated by Naomi Osaka in Melbourne and then seeded seventh in Qatar, the American was brushed aside in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 by Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
Brady was confined to a hotel room for two weeks in Melbourne after travelling to Australia on a flight which also carried a person who later tested positive for coronavirus.
She was not allowed out to train as most other players were, and her success in the tournament came as a surprise to her.
“Even before quarantine, I didn’t think I would be where I am right now, totally not,” she told reporters at the time.
Not everyone has suffered after impressive exploits in Melbourne, however.
The man Medvedev beat in the Australian Open semi-final, Stefanos Tsitsipas, has enjoyed a rather more illustrious return to competition, beating Egor Gerasimov 7-6(4), 7-5.
Neither Melbourne champion has played since winning their titles – and nor have the beaten women’s semi-finalists, Karolina Muchova and Serena Williams, or the other men’s semi-finalist, Aslan Karatsev.