Medvedev a threat to win Slams with his confidence now higher than ever

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Russia's Daniil Medvedev is riding high after what he calls the biggest win of his career. That could mean even bigger things for the Russian in 2021.

In 2019 when Daniil Medvedev was in the midst of reeling off six consecutive finals and nearly toppling Rafael Nadal in a thrilling five-set US Open final, the tennis world took notice. 

In 2020 after the Russian rocketed through his final ten matches of the season, tackling top 10 foes one after the other and becoming the first player in history to sweep through the world’s top three players at the same Nitto ATP Finals, the tennis world is sensing a pattern of proof. 

What Medvedev has proven with his rampage through Paris and London in November is that his 2019 was no fluke, and his 2020 just might be the beginning of something even bigger. 

Daniil Medvedev 2020 ATP Finals

Medvedev’s shining moment 

After what he calls the best victory of his career, Medvedev himself is starting to believe that torrid tennis and top-notch performances are simply a part of the Medvedev experience, just like the been-there-done-that victory celebrations that he hopes to make his signature. He told reporters on Sunday that the win over Thiem could prove to be a turning point for him in terms of self-belief. 

“I think it can give me a lot for my future career, I mean, to beat Dominic the way he played today and to manage to beat him is probably my best victory of my life,” he said. “Not even talking about the title itself. I mean, to win a Masters, being undefeated, I mean, honestly I know I can play good, but I would not believe it if you would tell me this before the tournament.

“So a great boost of confidence for all the slams coming up and all the tournaments. Hopefully I can continue this way.” 

Russia runs through it 

Medvedev has closed the London era at the Nitto ATP Finals with a great victory for Russia. It was one of his idols, Nikolay Davydenko, who opened the era with a resounding triumph at the 02 Arena in 2009, and Medvedev says he’s honored to close the curtains on a truly iconic 12-year run for the event in London. 

“I always said before this tournament it’s an amazing story here in London, where the tournament was for [12] years, first champion was Russian and last champion would be Russian. A lot of thanks to Nikolay Davydenko for being an inspiration for many kids by winning here.”

The 24-year-old said he was able to share a few words with the former world No 3 and winner of 482 ATP matches, who was commentating his final for Russian television on Sunday. 

“I actually didn’t know, but Nikolay commented on my match on Russian TV,” he said. “He was a commentator during this match, and then I managed to talk to him just after the match. I was so surprised and so happy because he was one of my idols when I was growing up when I was actually already starting to play tennis not so bad, he was there and he was playing unbelievable.”

Achievement unlocked

The magnitude of Medvedev’s achievement could potentially be felt for years to come. By defeating world No 1 Novak Djokovic, world No 2 Rafael Nadal and world No 3 Dominic Thiem in London, the 24-year-old has done something that had never been done in the history of the ATP Finals and had only been pulled off three times previously since the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990. 

If he lacked any belief about what he was capable of before this week, the Russian’s remarkable run in London should make it clear that he has it in him to win the biggest titles the sport has to offer.

“It is amazing,” Medvedev said of his milestone achievement. “I mean, to be honest, to win it, it means that you beat everybody who is top 10, anyway, when you win a Masters. But also, in a group I beat Novak, then Rafa in the semis, and Dominic in the final, best players in the world.” 

Dominic Thiem, the loser of Sunday’s final, was also duly impressed by Medvedev’s run.

“If you look at the whole tournament, he was the best player,” Thiem said. “He didn’t lose a set in the group stage. Beat No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world in the semis and in the final, so he definitely deserved that title.”

Medvedev says he hears the message loud and clear: Keep improving and great things will happen. 

“Means a lot,” he said. “Shows what I’m capable of when I’m playing good, when I’m feeling good mentally, physically. I know what I’m capable of. Just I need to produce it more and more and hopefully more matches like this, as I say.” 

The next step: unlocking quicker

The next challenge for Medvedev, he says, is to figure out how to get his game on track more quickly. He was frustrated in 2020 by his inability to find his rhythm at some of the bigger tournaments over the restart. His last ten matches have reminded him that he is truly elite once he finds his game. The next challenge, he says, is to find it faster. 

“When you have this sort of confidence, you just need to know how to keep it,” he said. “And I think I do know how to do it, especially looking back at last year also where I had six finals in a row. So now the question is how to find it faster sometimes.” 

 

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