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Daniil Medvedev shuts down hopes of new era as Djokovic, Nadal and Federer point made

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DANIIL MEDVEDEV will be the first non-Big Four player to hold the top spot of the rankings since 2004 when he takes over as world No 1 on Monday.

Daniil Medvedev has shot down the idea that a “new era” of men’s tennis has started after clinching the world No 1 ranking. The Russian will be the top-ranked player on Monday after Novak Djokovic’s shock quarter-final loss in Dubai, making him the first non-Big Four world No 1 in more than 18 years. Despite a change of the guard at the top, Medvedev believes the new era hasn’t arrived just yet.

Medvedev was in a direct fight for the world No 1 spot with Djokovic this week, as both were competing at ATP 500 events in Acapulco and Dubai respectively.

The 26-year-old has already proven himself to be the first young player of his generation to become the successor to the dominant era of the Big Three.

He defeated Djokovic in straight sets to win his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open last year and was the first non-Big Four world No 2 since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 when he clinched his current ranking.

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And his rise only continues as he will be the first man not named Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Murray to hold the world No 1 spot since February 1 2004.

Other top players from his generation including Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have already reached Grand Slam finals and won the year-end ATP Finals, as they continue to knock on the door of the Big Three legacy.

But the leader of the current crop of top young players believes the new era hasn’t started just yet.

“It is difficult to say,” he said, when asked whether his new ranking signalled the beginning of a new reign in tennis.

“Especially if you look at what has happened in the last Grand Slams. Most were won by the Big Three, although it is true that I had the privilege of lifting the last title at the US Open.”

Medvedev has contested three other Grand Slam finals, all against either Djokovic or Nadal, and lost them all.

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His first came at the 2019 US Open where he mounted a comeback from two sets down to force a fifth against Nadal before ultimately losing.

He then suffered a straight-sets defeat to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final and was runner-up in Melbourne again a year later.

The soon-to-be new world No 1 continued: “For my part, I am trying to put into practice my highest level of tennis, but that time in New York was the only time that I have been able to beat a member of the Big 3 in Grand Slam tournaments.

“I will have to keep working and do better, since in other types of tournaments I have known how to beat them. In this Australian Open it happened to me again, there were moments in the match where I wasn’t strong enough.

“It’s a bit early to talk about a new era, but for my part I’m happy to have achieved such a goal. A great feeling for me and my team.”

And Medvedev proved the Big Three were still on top as he suffered his second loss to Nadal in under a month when they faced off in the Mexico Open semi-final.

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The world No 5 won through 6-3 6-3 to extend his streak of 14 matches won and 0 lost so far in 2022 and meets Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the final