Following his 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win against Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open Round of 16 on Monday, Daniil Medvedev was asked which member of the Big Three he believed to be the superior player.
Earlier in the tournament, when asked a similar question, Nick Kyrgios shared his belief that Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time. Medvedev, however, refused to separate Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
“For me, [I pick] all of the three because no matter how many Grand Slams they all have at the end of their careers, what they did in tennis is amazing,” said Medvedev. “I remember when Pete Sampras beat the record [number] of Grand Slams [won], I was really young. I remember all the news, sports news, saying, ‘This record is forever.’ Just like Messi and Ronaldo in football. Then the three guys came, they not [only] beat the record, they destroyed the record.”
For Medvedev, who turned 25 last week, the possibility of reaching the record Grand Slam hauls of Federer and Nadal (20) is difficult to comprehend. If the Russian won the next 20 Grand Slam events, his first opportunity to break Federer and Nadal’s record would come just before his 30th birthday at the 2026 Australian Open. Only two men in the Open Era — Rod Laver (1969) and Djokovic (2015-’16) — have won four consecutive Grand Slams.
”[It] is amazing because, for example, me, I’m 25, I’m playing good tennis. I feel like I’m one of the top players in the world. I have zero slams,” said Medvedev. “Imagine me [getting] to 20, I [would] need to win five years in a row every Slam… against amazing opponents, [in] five-set matches [and] not be injured. [Those are] ridiculous numbers. For me, they’re the three, for sure, greatest players in the history of tennis.”
Medvedev’s bid to capture a first Grand Slam title will continue on Wednesday, when he meets good friend Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park. The pair began the year as teammates, when they each claimed four singles victories for Russia en route to the ATP Cup title.
Medvedev and Rublev will meet for the fourth time in their ATP Head2Head series on Wednesday. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion owns a 3-0 record against Rublev and is yet to drop a set against the seven-time ATP Tour titlist. The fact that he will be looking across the net at a friend will make no difference to Medvedev’s approach to the match.
“It doesn’t make a difference [that Andrey and I are friends]. On the tennis court, we’re going to try to win. [It] doesn’t matter,” said Medvedev. “If you can win 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, you’re going to make it. You’re not going to give two games at the end to say, ‘He’s my close friend, I’m going to give him two games.’ If you have to win 7-6 in the fifth, you’re going to try to make it.
“[It is the] same for him… [At the end of the match], one of us is going to say congratulations to [the] other one. We’ll be disappointed with the result, but we’ll move on and have many more matches to come.”
With Medvedev and Rublev crossing paths in the quarter-finals in Melbourne, Russia is guaranteed a semi-finalist at the Australian Open for the first time since Marat Safin’s title run in 2005. However, the winner of the all-Russian clash may not be the only player from the nation to reach the last four at the opening major championship of the year.
Medvedev and Rublev’s teammate Aslan Karatsev, who is competing in his maiden Grand Slam main draw, will attempt to reach the semi-finals on Tuesday. The World No. 114 has defeated eighth seed Diego Schwartzman and #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime en route to the quarter-finals, where he will meet 2017 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov.
“We are both really happy for Aslan, because he was practising good at the ATP Cup,” said Medvedev. “We felt like he could do something amazing. To be honest, being in your first Grand Slam main draw and making the quarter-finals is something exceptional. He’s not over yet. Let’s see how he does tomorrow.”