Defending US Open champion Daniil Medvedev joined Rafa Nadal in lamenting the absence of Novak Djokovic from this year's tournament.
Medvedev said, "I mean, I wish he would play here. We saw it in Wimbledon. He didn't play many tournaments this year. He came there, he won."
It was confirmed yesterday that three-time champion Djokovic would miss the tournament due to his unvaccinated status. After also sitting out the Australian Open, this is the second major of the season that Djokovic will be unable to contest.
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Medvedev himself was forced to sit out Wimbledon this year, due to a ban on Russian players instituted by the All-England club in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

'It's a pity he's not here' - Medvedev on Djokovic's US Open absence

Djokovic's absence means that his ongoing struggle with Nadal for tennis supremacy is on hold. Medvedev went on, "the rivalry against Rafa is really I feel like heating up in a way. 22, 21, a joke of a number. It's a pity he's not here. It would be a great story I think for tennis."
However, Medvedev was careful to explain that he understands why Djokovic will not be in attendance. "It's American government rule. Completely understandable also."
Medvedev begins his title defence on Monday, against world No. 110 Stefan Kozlov and underscored his desire to do something "special" again. "It's a special moment to win a slam. I'm motivated to try to do it again. I was really close in Australian Open. When you say 'close', if you didn't do it, you are far also. I want to try to do something big here."
Not since Roger Federer's five-year run of wins (from 2004-2008) has a men's player successfully defender the US Open singles title.
Medvedev is in fine form though, having reached the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters after winning the Los Cabos Open, and also winning in Halle in June.
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Having previously embraced the role of pantomime villain in New York - once telling the crowd that their boos only make him stronger - Medvedev admits he has a "special relationship" with the crowd at the US Open.
Last year Medvedev stopped Nadal's quest for a historic Grand Slam, something that the crowd did not enjoy. But for the Russian, it created an atmosphere he described as "electric".
"When I look back at US Open nights, every night starting 2019 where I got booed for a reason, it was not like there was no reason. All these moments, and especially the final against Rafa, give me goose bumps because it was something special when I'm never going to forget, my team will never forget."
The end of tennis icon Serena Williams' career has obviously been a hot topic in the lead up to the US Open, and Medvedev was asked for his perspective.
The Russian was effusive in his praise, saying "it's just legendary. Every time I saw her in person, she just has this legendary energy around her, which I guess is not easy to live with, because that's why everybody is a fan of her."
For Medvedev, Serena's achievements will stand the test of time. "She for sure has and will have an amazing legacy in tennis. I'm sure in hundred years we're still going to talk about Serena Williams."
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