Medvedev talks madness, maturity and advance at Roland Garros

By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Daniil Medvedev has celebrated his first-round Roland Garros frolic by recalling his Parisian roots as a madman and a “very strange” scenario that may help him regain No.1.

photo credit: Getty

Long before Daniel Medvedev emerged as a great champion in New York, he forged a reputation as a maniacal madman in Paris.

World number 2 Medvedev listening Faculty of Bagnis 2, 2 and 2 in a sharp opener at Roland Garros today.

After: Shapovalov calls a double fault on ATP and Wimbledon

The defending US Open champion, who has been sidelined for most of the clay season recovering from hernia surgery, picked up his first clay-court win since sweeping Cristian Garin to reach the quarter-finals of Roland Garros 2021.

After today’s 98-minute victory, Medvedev recalled how a Paris junior tournament played a central role in his mental maturation.

Competing in a Tennis Europe tournament for 14 and under, a teenager Medvedev was leading 6-0, 5-0 when he lost a match and then lost his mind.

“I was winning 6-0, 5-0, I lost [a game], went completely crazy, won the next one, and everyone was like, ‘Who is this guy who goes crazy when it’s 6-0, 5-1 for him?’ Medvedev recalled his days as a manic junior. “That’s how I was. But I definitely didn’t understand it after that game, it was much later.

“Yeah, I’m still learning, because I have tantrums, if that’s the right word, sometimes on the pitch. Usually I’m not happy about it. The most important thing is either how react or better not do them and just, yeah, stay focused on the game.

The man who once fingered boisterous New York fans and then won them over with his heart, grit and competitive spirit en route to his first grand final at the 2019 US Open, has plenty of things on your mind these days.

The Australian Open runner-up is trying to translate his flat-striking game to his worst surface with just two clay-court matches under his belt in the past year. Medvedev faces pressure to defend quarter-final points in Paris knowing that he, along with all Russians and Belarusians, is banned from playing at Wimbledon next month.

In addition to a most bizarre return to Roland Garros, it’s conceivable that Medvedev could reunite with world No. 1 without playing the world’s most prestigious tournament as top-ranked Novak Djokovic can’t defend his points ranking for winning Wimbledon because the ATP stripped the championships of ranking points.

“Very strange,” Medvedev said of his situation. “I have to be honest, but like I said last time, I would be really happy to play at Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon. I love playing on grass. I will be playing on grass after Roland Garros. But if I can’t, I mean, I’m just going to prepare for the next tournaments and, you know, follow what’s going on there.

“There are no points, I become number 1, great for me. If there are points, I can’t become No. 1, I will be gutted. It’s like that. I cannot change some decisions, both regarding the ATP and Wimbledon.”

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How can Medvedev manage to modify his game to adapt to clay?

The lanky Russian who trains in France at the Mouratoglou Academy and enjoyed success under his longtime French coach Gilles Cervara, broke a streak of four straight outings in the first round of Roland Garros with his quarter-final Last year. Medvedev believes success on clay starts with his feet and gives himself a bit more headroom on his flat shots as the balls build up clay and get heavier.

“It’s all about movement, and I think my shots come off like in the air because the balls are a lot heavier, they have dirt on them, so a lot of my balls, not at Roland Garros but on d ‘other courts, for example, was the case in Geneva, I feel like I did a good job but it just goes into the net,” Medvedev said. “When you don’t know what you can improve , that’s where it gets hard because you’re wondering, what do I do next?

“Yeah, that’s not the case here, so I’m happy about that.”

Medvedev will try to keep moving forward with a second round of testing against. Laslo Djere.

The Serbian, ranked 56th, swept Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The winner of the Medvedev-Djere match will meet either the Serbian 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic Where Alexander Bublik for a place in the round of 16.

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