MADRID: Russia’s 15-year wait for a Davis Cup title ended on Sunday after another clutch performance from Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev capped his amazing year with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 win over Marin Cilic in the second singles match to give Russia an insurmountable 2-0 lead over Croatia and their first Davis Cup title since 2006.
“It feels amazing,” Medvedev said. “But I’m more happy for the team than for myself. We have an amazing team, amazing atmosphere. I’m happy to be part of it and bring the points we need.”
It was the fifth consecutive straight-set victory in the Davis Cup for world number two Medvedev, who three months ago defeated Novak Djokovic to win the US Open for his first Grand Slam title.
Medvedev got a standing ovation from the crowd and made peace with the Spanish fans following a week of animosity after Russia eliminated Spain in the group stage of the Davis Finals.
“I loved the atmosphere. It was a really amazing two weeks because it’s never easy to come here in the end of the season and compete. For sure it was the best two weeks of my career,” Medvedev said.
“I can say that for all of us it’s very important to win here. It’s still the Davis Cup. We still see Novak playing. Rafa [Nadal] won it last time.
“No matter the format, the best players in the world are happy to represent their country. It’s Davis Cup and we are the winners of it. That’s the most important thing.”
Andrey Rublev had earlier prevailed 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) over Borna Gojo to put the Russians ahead at the Madrid Arena.
“It was super tough and I felt a lot of pressure, but it’s good to put my country in the lead,” Rublev told reporters.
Russia’s other Davis Cup title was in 2002. Croatia were also seeking their third title after triumphs in 2005 and 2018.
“I still can be proud with the effort,” Cilic said. “We are just sorry we couldn’t get one point to get the doubles guys in the court.”
The doubles, where Croatia have the top-ranked pair, were not played.
Russia are the fourth nation to win both Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup titles, after the women’s team won that event in Prague last month with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland in the final.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021