Former tennis player John McEnroe gave a damning verdict on Daniil Medvedev, saying he threw the Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal.
Medvedev had Nadal in his pocket during the first two sets of their clash in the finals. The Russian looked set to capture another major after leading 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 in the third set. However, he then wasted three break chances and handed the momentum to the Spaniard.
Nadal punished him with intent, coming back to win with a final score of 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 after a gruelling five-hour match. He made history by winning his 21st Grand Slam title as the World No. 2 looked on dejected.
McEnroe gave his damning verdict on Medvedev, saying the game was his to be won, but he completely bottled it.
“The turning point of the match was when Rafa served at 2-3 in the third,” he commented, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
“It felt like Rafa felt deflated. I do not want to say he was resigned because he never is, but it looked like he expected that this was about to happen and that he would end up losing in straight sets. I think Medvedev played a couple, I do not want to say careless, but maybe loose points.”
Never celebrate early
“He got a little tentative because he could taste the finish line. And then, suddenly, it allowed the crowd back into the match because obviously, the crowd was a significant factor,” McEnroe continued.
“Then he started to show his edginess and frustration with the crowd, which made it worse for him. That was the turning point.
“As soon as that slight momentum shift occurred, Daniil started to get tight. He choked in the third set at that point, as he should have been 4-2 in front.
“But once he let Rafa back in, that allowed the crowd to get back in, which was one of the most extraordinary efforts I have ever seen,” he concluded.