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Daniil Medvedev ready to give his best at Wimbledon | Tennis News – Times of India

June 24, 2021
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There was a brightness about Daniil Medvedev, it matched the unmellow yellow of his shirt. The 25-year-old, a two-time major finalist, hasn’t gone past the third round in three main draw outings at Wimbledon. His least successful Slam now.
The Russian told TOI during a video call that he hoped to change that record at The Championships, starting Monday.
Excerpts:
How would you describe your relationship with grass, in comparison to hardcourts?
Grass used to be my favourite surface, I liked to play on it. Grass is good to make big sensations because that’s where matches can get tight. When I was around 50-60 in the rankings, I could make big results, that’s why I really liked grass. It’s also a tough surface, where sometimes you can have a tough first round and you can lose against any opponent. Right now, my favourite surface is hardcourt, that’s where I feel the most confident with my game. And least vulnerable.
I think I can play really good on grass. I can show big results. When I say big results, I see no limit. Has your approach to the majors changed in the last couple of years?
It’s actually funny that since Roland Garros (2021) is over, Wimbledon is the worst Slam in terms of results for me. It’s the only Slam where I haven’t made quarters yet. Coming into the majors now, no matter which one, I want to try and be in the final. I know it’s not easy, but I know that I’m capable. I will be the second seed at Wimbledon, really looking forward to show my best. It’s a good challenge to improve my results from previous years, then go further and do something really big.
Do you think the difference between the younger crop of players and the big three – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic — is the best-of-five-sets format?
The difference between the big three and the rest of the world is that they are better players.
History shows that. I also feel that maybe they have a bit less motivation, they always have motivation, but maybe a bit less in other tournaments. They say the Grand Slams are the biggest tournaments for them, that’s where they show their best tennis and that’s where it is the toughest to beat them. Thiem, Zverev, Stefanos and me we have played a lot of five sets. I don’t think best-of-five makes a difference.
You’ve said that when you step on court against a friend like Andrey Rublev, it’s just a match, you put the friendship aside…
It was easy because I was always a competitor. The first thing is to win the match, after the match is friendship. I would even say that sometimes playing a friend is more motivation for both of us, that’s where you try to prove even more that I want to be better than him. For Rublev and me, when we play, he does everything to try and beat me (laughing).
Around what age did your game start showing signs of maturing into that unorthodox force it is today?
When I was 12, I started to play an adult game, you try to do everything — strong forehand, backhand, serve. When I was in the top-100 and playing Challengers, I was ruthless, trying to destroy the ball, going for winners, going for crazy shots, going for full power. It was tough for guys to play against me sometimes when I was in good shape, but then there were matches where I couldn’t put two balls in the court. Then when I was 21, I won my first tournament in Sydney (2018), I had been changing my game step-by-step, I started practising more professionally, going into details. That’s where I felt that in many matches, I don’t need to be too strong, I just need to put the ball in the court, in the right place and it’s going to make me win matches. That was the year I won a lot of matches, played a lot of tournaments and that’s how I started developing my own style.
Is there a particular player from your generation with whom you can see a rivalry for the ages?
It would definitely be Tsitsipas because of our first match (2018 Miami, first-round), that’s how the rivalry started. It is funny because I was ranked 52 at the time and he was 70 and nobody would know that we would come so far. He’s a great rival and hopefully we can play more big-stage matches.
Who would you pick as your toughest opponent among Federer, Nadal and Djokovic?
I would say Roger in terms of game style, which kind of doesn’t suit me. At the same time, all the matches that we played I wasn’t at the level I am right now (trails head-to-head 0-3). I played Rafa for the first time when I was already top-10 and the second time I played him was in the final of a Slam, so it was different from when I played Roger. The most interesting matches I would say of the big three was with Novak (Medvedev trails head-to-head 3-5).
How did those exchanges with the crowd at the 2019 US Open, where you took them on, and later apologized, impact you?
I had to apologize. I did something wrong. It was a genuine apology. It’s not enough just to say, ‘sorry guys’, you need to show your good side too, if you have one. Also, not do it in a fake way because people can see, especially in the stadium, they can feel it. I was really happy at the end of the tournament because people love me in New York. Love me, is the right word, because there are not many tournaments in my life where I could feel the love of the people. Which was amazing because for two or three rounds it was genuine hate and I also never felt that before. So, it was genuine hate, and in the end, it was genuine love. It was a great story and something I will remember for a long, long time. It gives me goosebumps sometimes.
Have you struggled with mental health, particularly during the pandemic?
In the first lockdown (from 2020 March), everywhere in the world there was no tennis, it was the easiest part. It was clear for everybody because all the countries were in lockdown. It gets tougher when you travel, somewhere you have zero restrictions then you come to Wimbledon where you can’t go out of the hotel. Then, for example, I was in Moscow, they have no more restrictions.
That’s where it gets tough for mental health because your brain is kind of in a jet lag. One day I was out without a mask having dinner in a bar at midnight and then the next three weeks I’m only going to be in a hotel room eating Uber Eats.
If I can say one tournament it was Rotterdam (in March) that was tough for me. I was coming from Australia, where after a tough lockdown we were able to walk around and then again lockdown in Rotterdam. That was really tough for me. Miami was not easy for me either, everything was open, but not for us. I tried to handle it in a professional way because tennis is my job.





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