Justine Henin: Daniil Medvedev is now Novak Djokovic’s biggest rival

Justine Henin thought Novak Djokovic did a great adjustment after a slow start to the Paris Masters final and she believes the US Open disappointment is behind the Serb.

Playing in his first tournament since the US Open final disappointment, Djokovic won Paris after beating Medvedev in the final 4-6 6-3 6-3. 

“I thought he was phenomenal in how he dealt with the final,” added Henin. “He started much more slowly than Daniil Medvedev, against a Daniil Medvedev who is aiming at taking his place on the circuit and who is now Novak Djokovic’s biggest rival,” Henin told Eurosport.

“The physical dimension was going to be a factor and we knew it could be an issue for the Russian. Novak Djokovic has so much experience, he’s so smart and he’s so strong in his head that he knew that too and used it.

“You could feel that he had recovered and was fresh again. There was relief in the US Open defeat. He was able to take care of himself, he was able to remobilise. And finally, the pressure was almost as much on Daniil Medvedev as on Novak Djokovic in this final.”

Henin praises Djokovic for his humility 

“He is smart enough to know that nothing can be taken for granted. You have to keep working on things. He showed that in this match too, especially tactically. First of all, he remained very calm after losing the first set. He waited for the opportunities, he served better and better. And then, it’s true that tactically, the fact that he said, ‘I can play the game I wanted to play’, I think that’s wonderful to hear from the world No 1. After all he has done, he says to himself, ‘I am still looking for ways to push my opponent’ because he knows that the other side is making progress, has made enormous progress,” Henin continued. 

“And he still has this humility, this willingness to question himself tactically. And indeed, the variety that he has shown going forward and serve and volley at important moments…I think that’s the great class of Novak Djokovic and it shows that he’s still capable of evolving and adapting to a lot of circumstances. On the emotional side, I think Novak Djokovic is capable of digging a hole for himself but also of bouncing back so quickly. I’m not surprised anymore.”

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