The Russian Tennis Federation claimed a third Davis Cup title on behalf of their nation which is banned from international competition for state doping violations, by beating Croatia in Madrid, in the reformatted competition on Sunday.
I can say that for all of us it's very important to win here. It's still the Davis Cup! Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev’s 7-6(7) 6-2 victory over Marin Cilic came after Andrey Rublev had earlier prevailed 6-4 7-6(5) over Borna Gojo, to establish an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Had one of the Croatian singles players managed to swing their rubber their way, they could have deployed their unbeatable doubles duo of Nikola Mektic & Mate Pavic to clinch the title in their favour but both the World Nos two and five proved too big a hurdle to clear in that first instance.
“I can say that for all of us it’s very important to win here. It’s still the Davis Cup,” said Medvedev in a press conference.
“We still see Novak (Djokovic) 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.”
Rublev, the only member of the RFT team to lose a rubber during the competition, showed some nerves as he opened the final against Borna Gojo. While he never faced a break point in his match, he had to save set points in the tie-breaker.
In the second rubber Medvedev, the reigning US Open champion, was pushed by Marin Cilic, a former US Open champion, but neither was able to convert break points in the first set with Medvedev forced to recover from a deficit in the tie-break before claiming the set, from which point, he cruised through to victory.
“It was a tough match all day long,” said Medvedev. “The tiebreak is a matter of a few points. I made a double fault on the set point that was probably a big mistake, but I’m happy that today it was enough to win. It was a really tough match.”
The RFT ends the season with their third Davis Cup title — first since 2006 — to go along with the ATP Cup title won earlier this year and the women’s BJK Cup – previously known as the Fed Cup – a month ago.
“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’s never easy to come here at the end of the season but they were some of the best weeks of my career.”
For Cilic there was disappointment as he failed in his quest to take the trophy back to Croatia for a third time.
“We are just sorry we couldn’t get one point to get the doubles guys in the court,” he said simply.