Confidence is king and Daniil Medvedev has loads of it, with the affable Russian morphing into not simply one in every of tennis’s greatest gamers and premier athletes, however among the many smartest.
Standing at a lanky 6ft 6in and pencil-thin, he has emerged on the forefront of the subsequent wave trying to smash the ‘Massive Three’ monopoly of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
After reaching the 2019 US Open last, the place he misplaced to Nadal, he has labored arduous on his recreation and health to race by means of the rankings and goes into Sunday’s Australian Open last in opposition to Djokovic on a 20-match win streak, demonstrating his psychological and bodily stamina.
Having fun with a career-high rating of 4, he has come to phrases together with his immense potential.
Earlier than his rise in 2019, he might let his feelings get in the way in which and by no means shied away from admitting he didn’t do all the things as professionally as attainable.
He competed arduous and did his work on the follow courtroom, however his food regimen and restoration routines weren’t what they need to be, with the 25-year-old having fun with sweets and croissants.
And if an extended match went late, he would usually skip the ice tub.
“I assumed it was going to be one of the best relaxation, to simply lay on the mattress and watch some TV. And actually, it is not,” he stated final 12 months.
However Medvedev, nicknamed Bear, has modified and it has paid dividends.
Throughout his 20-match run, he has crushed each top-10 participant besides Federer, who has been out injured.
When knowledgeable of this, he replied: “It is nice to know this. It is a pity that Roger will not be enjoying,” suggesting he was additionally assured of taking his scalp.
– Unlocked all the things –
Medvedev is an clever man. He excelled in physics and maths at college, graduating early and enrolling at a college in his native Moscow to check utilized economics and commerce.
He opted as an alternative to play tennis full-time, shifting to the south of France, the place his sister lived, to learn from its high-quality teaching and amenities.
Fluent in Russian and English, he’s additionally usually heard conversing in French together with his coach, Gilles Cervara, who has helped steer him to the place he’s right now.
Regardless of leaving college early, Medvedev stays a tactical thinker, or as commentator Jim Courier put it this week: “He is a grasp chess participant on courtroom”.
Medvedev retains opponents guessing together with his flat and low groundstrokes, whereas altering up the tempo and angles, mixing impenetrable defence with opportunistic offence.
His semi-final opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas as soon as referred to as Medvedev’s enjoying fashion “boring” however even the Greek star has been received over.
“Let me let you know that he is a participant who has unlocked just about all the things within the recreation,” he stated after crashing to him in straighht units.
“He tips you. , he performs the sport actually good. It is actually fascinating to see that.”
Whereas the Russian has refined his recreation, a key rule nonetheless applies and that’s to “combat like loopy”, a trait drilled him into by one in every of his first tennis coaches when he was nonetheless a small boy.
“Her golden rule was, ‘The one who wins the match is the one who made extra balls over the web’, which is simple to grasp,” he stated.