Young guns expose massive Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic lie

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev have gone some way to giving Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer exactly what they wanted - more young players stepping up and challenging the big guns in men’s tennis.

Federer and Djokovic have both previously bemoaned the lack of young players at the top of the tennis world rankings, with Djokovic (32), Rafael Nadal (33) and Federer (38) still the top three players after all these years.

But Medvedev and Rublev seemingly exposed a major untruth at the Cncinnati Masters that none of the young guns are good enough to shake up the world order.

On Sunday, Medvedev claimed his first ATP Masters title after a straight-sets win over David Goffin in the final in Cincinnati.

Daniil Medvedev (centre) has helped expose a major untruth about Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Image: Getty

That followed the 23-year-old’s extraordinary upset win over Djokovic 24 hours earlier in the semi-finals.

By beating Goffin 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 on Sunday in one hour 39 minutes, Medvedev has guaranteed his place in the world's top five for the first time.

As for Rublev, the 21-year-old sent Federer packing 6-3 6-4 in the third round - the 20-time grand slam champion’s shortest match lost since 2003.

Can they do it at grand slam level?

The extraordinary display from the young Russians went some way to making a mockery of those constantly criticising the young crop of players coming through.

The issue was brought up when Nadal won the Rogers Cup two weeks ago - the first time in his career that he’d defended a title on a surface other than clay.

On that occasion Medvedev was on the wrong end of a brutal thrashing, leading to a number of jokes about how young players continue to be dominated by the older greats.

At Wimbledon in July, Federer took a thinly-veiled swipe at his younger counterparts, describing them as ‘less talented’ than the likes of himself and Nadal when they were coming through.

"It's definitely not a - how do you say - regular time in tennis in the men's game," Federer said.

"I don't think we would have thought that Novak, me and Rafa, all of us, was going to be so solid, so dominant for so many years.

"I think that (collective domination), number one, stopped a lot of runs from the younger guys.

"Number two, I'm not sure, were they as talented as Rafa, Novak, and myself and others? Maybe also not."

Andrey Rublev shocked Roger Federer. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

However it remains to be seen if Medvedev, Rublev and co can produce similar performances at grand slam level.

The ‘Big Three’ plus Andy Murray (32) and Stan Wawrinka (34) have not only won 57 of the past 60 majors, but Dominic Thiem (25) is the only active male player under 28 to have reached a grand slam final.

It's an even more galling statistic considering Federer had already become men's tennis's all-time grand slam title leader with 15 of his now 20 majors before his 28th birthday.

"That is not good," German great Boris Becker said recently.

"That is not a compliment for anybody under 28.

"And don't give me that the others are too good. We should question the quality and the attitude of everybody under 28.

“It just doesn't make sense. As much as I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak - who else? Show up. Give me something I want to talk about."

Well it appears as though Becker, Federer and Djokovic have got their wish.

Only time will tell if it transfers over to grand slam level.

with AAP