During the conversation with three Spanish media, Daniil Medvedev (Moscow, 25 years old) sheds that poker face that always accompanies him on the courts, where he unfolds in a heterodox way, with those endless arms and legs. There is an enigma down there, a volcano as well as a glacier. That’s why no one wants to measure up to him. He is relaxed, the beast is sleeping. The last few days have not been easy due to the covid, although he says he is recovered to face a section that, directly, he has said, “hates”. It is clear: Medvedev does not like the land.
Question. How is it?
Answer. I am recovering. If I didn’t notice I’m in shape, I wouldn’t have come here. I spent ten days in bed and in isolation, but I come here with confidence, as always. The best is yet to come.
P. He is a mysterious boy: sometimes he looks like fire and other times he looks like ice. How would you describe yourself?
R. As you just said, I am mysterious. There are times when I don’t understand my own emotions. It happened to me when I was very young, I was very calm in my personal life and it was difficult to get me out of there, or make me angry. But in tennis it was much worse than now, I could win 3-0 and lose a point, and suddenly I would go crazy. I couldn’t understand why that had happened to me. A few years ago I started working on this issue and made a lot of progress. That’s why I wouldn’t describe myself as a crazy guy, possessed by fire, nor as the ice man.
P. Why do you just celebrate your triumphs or successes?
R. I just decided that this was going to be my house brand, and in fact sometimes I have a hard time suppressing the urge to be more effusive. It may not be for the best and it may not be liked by everyone, but I am like that. I know that in football there are players who do not celebrate their goals, but in tennis nobody had done it before, so it is good to be the first in something. And of course, I know that at some point a young boy will come to the circuit who does not celebrate the victories and will say that he does it for me [risas].
P. His face is extremely neutral in competition. Have you ever been scared on the track?
R. Rarely, but it can happen. It is not that I am properly afraid, only the fear of losing. I have had games of this type, against Roberto Bautista in Miami, or against Novak in Australia, in which I am not afraid, it is not the right word, but you cannot find any solution to what they are asking you. That’s what tennis is about, you have to try to beat the opponent. And that’s why I like it.
P. His game is difficult to decipher. Do you consider it one of your virtues?
R. Yes, I always try to take out a blow that will cause problems for the opponent, and that is why on clay it is more difficult, because no matter how good the shot is, the opponent does not usually hurt. Serving is one of the great elements of tennis. If you serve well, you give yourself a good chance for later, and there are also a series of automatisms that you work on, but then you have to make decisions: Do I shoot his backhand to his right? Do I hit flat or do I hit it with spin? Do I make a drop or do I hit it cut? For all this I like tennis.
P. Who is a tougher opponent, Nadal, Federer or Djokovic?
R. All three are, even though I haven’t beaten Roger yet [0-3]. The most difficult one? It’s easy to answer this question: Nadal at Roland Garros, Novak in Australia and Roger at Wimbledon [risas].
P. What are you working most insistently to improve on clay?
R. To be honest, I am working on everything, because I have some automatisms from when I play on hard surfaces that are not at all appropriate for clay. I have to program my mind to play differently, because I play nine and a half months on the hard surface, and suddenly a month and a half comes on the ground, and it is very different. And of course, I don’t want to be left behind in it ranking. Is not easy. One of the things I work on a lot is the effect (spin) of the ball.
P. There are very good Russian players right now, besides you, like Rublev, Khachanov, Karatsev. Do you find any common ground between all of them?
R. I think we all have a good backhand, even considering that Rublev is a bit more from the Spanish school, he tries to get positioned to hit the right hand, but he still has a very good backhand. The setback is something that has traditionally been good in Russia, we Russians have always had a good setback. I would also say that we are all very good fighters, which is very important on the court.