This week ATP Tour begins its annual season-in-review series, looking back at 2021’s best matches, biggest upsets, most dramatic comebacks and more. This week we look at the most compelling rivalries of the year, beginning with Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. The players ended the year at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the FedEx ATP Rankings following a season in which they shared three high-stakes showdowns.
Throughout his career, Novak Djokovic has enjoyed epic rivalries with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But with a new generation of stars on the rise, the Serbian is facing new threats, none bigger than from Daniil Medvedev.
The Russian ended the 2020 season by capturing the Nitto ATP Finals title, defeating Djokovic in the round-robin stage, which saw the Monte-Carlo resident enter the 2021 season having won three of his past four meetings against the World No. 1. By the start of the season Medvedev had narrowed his ATP Head2Head series deficit against Djokovic to 3-4.
Set on turning the tables, Djokovic faced Medvedev three times in 2021 in a determined mood. All meetings came in finals and both players adjusted tactics after earlier defeats to turn the tables on their rival.
Australian Open, Final, Djokovic d. Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
Djokovic has made Melbourne a second home throughout his career, having dominated the first major of the season. The 34-year-old faced Medvedev in the championship match aiming to join 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal as only the second man to win nine or more titles at the same major event.
But unlike in previous years, the Serbian’s route to the final had been anything but smooth. After battling past Taylor Fritz in five sets and Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev in four, many gave Medvedev a big chance, with the World No. 2 dispatching Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas without dropping a set. Medvedev was also on a 20-match winning streak, having helped guide Russia to the ATP Cup title earlier in February to continue his red-hot end-of-season form from 2020.
However, Djokovic reminded everyone why he is the king in Australia, producing a masterclass against Medvedev in the final to capture his 18th major title. The top seed marched to a 3-0 lead within 10 minutes and never looked back, returning with depth and accuracy to secure his victory.
With Djokovic and Medvedev both possessing rock solid backhands from the baseline, the World No. 1 targeted the Russian’s forehand throughout, extracting 33 errors from that wing as he dictated the forehand exchanges.
“Everyone talks about the new generation coming and taking over us, but realistically that isn’t happening still,” Djokovic said. “We can talk about it all day but with all my respect to the other guys, they still have a lot of work to do. I’m not going to stand here and hand it over to them. I’m going to make them work their ass off for that.”
US Open, Final, Medvedev d. Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
After meeting in the first major final of the season, the pair did not face each other again until the final major championship match of the year at the US Open. In that time, Djokovic had captured the trophy at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in one season.
The Serbian, who triumphed at Flushing Meadows in 2011, 2015 and 2018, was also aiming to break a tie with Federer and Nadal for the most major titles in history (20 each). Medvedev, meanwhile, was seeking his maiden Slam title and had swept through the draw for the loss of just one set.
With history beckoning and all eyes on Djokovic, Medvedev spoiled the party, stunning the World No. 1 in straight sets. The Russian, who lost to Nadal in the US Open final in 2019, controlled the match from the start as he changed up the tactics from his Australian Open defeat.
Medvedev successfully overloaded the Ad court with a foray of backhand-to-backhand exchanges, where he could neutralise and frustrate Djokovic with his ultra-flat backhand that proved difficult to attack. The Serbian ended up hitting 39 more backhands than forehands in the match, something which helped Medvedev win the longer rallies. The 25-year-old hit 16 winners compared to Djokovic’s six and committed five fewer errors (33-38), serving out the clash at the second time of asking to secure his biggest career win.
“He had a lot of pressure,” Medvedev said. “I had a lot of pressure, too… I knew I cannot give him easy serves because that’s what he likes. So that was the plan. Because of the confidence in a lot of tight moments, I managed to do it well.”
“I would like to say that tonight, even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special,” Djokovic told the crowd. “You guys touched my soul. I’ve never felt like this in New York… I love you guys. Thank you so much for the support and everything you have done tonight for me. I love you and I’ll see you soon.”
Rolex Paris Masters, Final, Djokovic d. Medvedev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
One day after clinching a record seventh year-end No. 1 finish in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Djokovic looked to create more history against Medvedev and put his US Open final defeat behind him as he changed up the chessboard to gain revenge.
Medvedev came into the match off the back of a straight-sets semi-final win against Alexander Zverev, while Djokovic had edged Hubert Hurkacz in the last four. It meant it was the first time the Paris final had featured the top two players in the FedEx ATP Rankings since 1990.
In an entertaining match, Djokovic served and volleyed 22 times, winning 27 of 36 points at the net and striking 38 winners, dominating Medvedev in rallies under five shots (54 to 34) as he disrupted Medvedev’s rhythm from the baseline.
Djokovic’s first volley was cleverly hit short in the court with angle, which worked with Medvedev standing very deep in the court to return serve.
It was Djokovic’s 48th match win of a standout season and he broke a tie with Nadal for the most ATP Masters 1000 titles, lifting his 37th crown.
“I went back and reviewed the final of the US Open to see what I did wrong and what I did right,” Djokovic said. “I tried to read the patterns of his serve and the ball toss, maybe. I tried to look for the small details because it was a match of small margins. He started better, broke my serve in the first game and I came back. He served the first set out pretty comfortably, but I felt as if I was there.”
Simone Biles and Boyfriend Jonathan Owens Wear Matching Outfit Colors for Date Night
Simone Biles and NFL boyfriend Jonathan Owens have been the internet craze since they made their relationship public. The two met during the pandemic, and have been inseparable ever since.
The two spent the entire holiday season together, and often take to social media to share glimpses with fans who can’t help but adore them. Recently, they left fans drooling with pictures from their date night.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens twin in blue for a dinner date
Simone Biles met Jonathan Owens during the pandemic in 2020. Because of the lockdown soon after they met, the two were able to spend a lot of time together.
With a shared love for bulldogs, the two soon started going out and in August 2020, the lovebirds made their relationship official. Biles clearly is head over heels for Owens. Meanwhile, Owens himself has all the love and admiration for her.
The two spend the entire holiday season together, from Thanksgiving to New Years. They clearly love spending time with each other and can’t bear to stay apart.
On Sunday, the couple was out for a dinner date, wearing matching outfits. The duo looked stunning as they twinned in blue and black.
They took to their social media to post pictures of their date night.
“Just trying to match yo fly,” posted Owens.
While Biles wore a beautiful blue crop top with black leather pants, Owens decided to match her wearing a black t-shirt with a blue imprint and finishing it off with black pants.
Owens admired Biles’ personality
Jonathan Owens has earlier also revealed that he really admired Biles’ personality. Biles is a happy-go-lucky person, even though she has gone through insurmountable odds.
“She’s always happy, giggly, bubbly. If I’ve had a tough day at the office, I wouldn’t want to take that home to her. Her personality, man….,” said Owens.
Owens really admired Biles’ energy and loves to spend time with his girlfriend.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens first went public with their relationship in August 2020
The two of them are extremely supportive of each other and encourage each other. Biles is often spotted cheering on Owens during his matches. Meanwhile, Owens also doesn’t fail to reciprocate the same.
Owens was also standing tall with Biles while she went through her struggles, backing up her decision to step down from Tokyo 2020. He really is her pillar of strength.
Revealed: The Insane Amount of Earnings That Have Propelled Lewis Hamilton’s Net Worth to $300 Million Mark
The thing about athletes like Lewis Hamilton that differentiates them from the rest is that they set such a high standard of results that anything below a win is termed as a disappointment. But in Hamilton’s case this year, everybody seemed to agree that he had one of the best seasons of his career.
And despite not being able to add his eighth and record-breaking championship to his mountain of achievements, the Mercedes driver added a lot of digits to his earnings.
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton earned a massive $70 million from Formula 1 in terms of salary and bonuses. And an additional $12 million from sponsorships.
This meant that the total earnings of $82 million made sure that for the first time in his career, Lewis Hamilton’s estimated net worth crossed over the mark of a quarter of a billion dollars.
Now with a net worth of $300 million, Hamilton is the eighth highest-paid athlete in the world.
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after finishing first in qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron
But in 2022, Lewis Hamilton might earn less compared to 2021.
How much will Lewis Hamilton earn in salary in 2022?
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton agreed to a two-year contract extension. This saw him earn a salary of $55 million (excluding bonuses) as reported by Forbes. But in his final year of the contract, the one he is currently on, it is reported that Hamilton’s salary will take a dip.
According to a report, the Mercedes driver will earn $40 million in salary in 2022.
It’s also worth pointing out that the 2021 champion Max Verstappen retains his $25 million paycheck.
The reason for the pay cut in salary of the seven-time world champion could be the fact that he is edging towards the end of his career. But also because of the cost cap that F1 introduced in 2021.
Yet it’s not as if Lewis Hamilton doesn’t have an income flow from outside the sport.
He is undeniably one of the biggest names in the global sports landscape, and his magnanimous achievements have already made sure that he’ll remain an incredibly marketable name for years to come.
Serena Williams’ Daughter Olympia Shows Off Impressive Tennis Backhand Swing: ‘Practice Makes Better’
Serena Williams’ daughter, Olympia Ohanian, showcased her talents on the tennis court in a video posted to her Instagram on Monday
Olympia Ohanian is following in mom Serena Williams’ famous footsteps.
The 4-year-old tiny tot showed off her seriously impressive tennis skills in a new video posted to her Instagram account on Monday, showcasing a swing that rivals tennis players of all age groups.
“Practice makes better,” reads a simple caption accompanying the video, in which Olympia can be seen sporting a black-and-white workout getup while she effortlessly practices her backhand on the court.
“It’s Oracene [Price] all over again!” Williams’ sister, Venus, commented, referring to their mom, who also served as their tennis coach when they were younger.
Olympia’s tennis skills shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering Serena, 40, is one of the most decorated tennis players in the history of the sport, and the mommy-daughter duo spend a considerable amount of time practicing together.
“Honestly, we started because it’s a socially safe sport, and when COVID happened, it was like, we’re just in the house with a 3-year-old, what do we do?” the 23-time Grand Slam winner told PEOPLE of how Olympia got involved with the sport, adding, “There was only one answer, to my dismay.”
Serena shares Olympia with husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, whom she wed in a star-studded event at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans in November 2017.
And although Olympia clearly takes her tennis training seriously on and off the court — Serena recently showed fans her daughter’s personal gym equipment in a series of Instagram Stories earlier in January — Olympia also has an ear for music, as evidenced by her incredible piano playing.
“She likes tennis, but I don’t know. Honestly, she likes playing piano,” the fashion designer told Jimmy Kimmel during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last November. “When she was in my belly, I played a lot of piano music.”
“And she’s teaching me! Like, I’m not even kidding,” the tennis pro replied when Kimmel asked if Olympia was taking piano lessons. “I have a baby Mozart, [but] of course every parent thinks they have like, a baby Beethoven or whatever.”