Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Daniil Medvedev hopes to return to world No.1 again

The Russian had become the world No.1 for a total of 19 weeks last year in February and June

By Joy Chakravarty

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Daniil Medvedev returns against Matteo Arnaldi on Tuesday. — Photo by M.Sajjad
Daniil Medvedev returns against Matteo Arnaldi on Tuesday. — Photo by M.Sajjad

Published: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 11:52 PM

Having conquered the peak of the ATP Ranking once, Daniil Medvedev is eager to experience the feeling all over again.

The world No.7 Russian is not doing too badly as he takes one step at a time. In the past two weeks, he has won titles in Rotterdam and Doha, and made a decent start in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-4, 6-2 win over lucky Matteo Arnaldi of Italy. He has now extended his winning streak to 10 matches, and is 14-2 for the season.

Medvedev, who became the world No.1 for a total of 19 weeks last year in February and June, does not have a great record in Dubai. He lost in the second round in 2017 and fell in the first round in 2019.

But Medvedev thinks it could be different this year as he can feel the confidence surging because of winning.

“It feels great because confidence is very important in tennis. We all know it. For me, it’s more important to have the confidence when I am in the moment, as compared to someone remembering ‘I played good here last year’. It’s different from what Novak (Djokovic) feels when he goes to Australia. No matter what happened before, he’s always confident there. For me, it’s important to be confident in that moment,” explained Medvedev

“So, right now, I feel great. Even today, I felt like I was far from my best tennis, but I managed to close it out in two sets. That always helps.

“I’m just really happy to be on a streak right now. But I also know that streaks always finish. I will try to extend mine as long as I can.”

The 2021 US Open champion felt it was easy to recover from Doha because of the short travel and similar playing conditions.

“I was much more tired in Doha, to be honest, because it’s a six-hour flight from Rotterdam. I came in at night and had to play in a day, so I had just one day of practice in completely different conditions: outdoor after indoor, so completely different court. It wasn’t easy on the body,” said the 27-year-old, who now resides in Monte Carlo.

“Doha-Dubai was much easier. A short flight. You kind of continue the same tournament. It’s not best-of-five sets. I know the body doesn’t like playing so many tournaments in a row. But I try to keep it in shape. Just hoping I will be as fresh throughout the week as I am right now.”

When asked what has changed from last year and his recent run of form, Medvedev said he seems to be playing the big and important points better.

“It’s tough to explain. The most important thing is winning in tennis. I feel like last year I had a lot of tournaments, a lot of matches where it was not bad, but I was losing some tiebreaks in important moments,” said Medvedev, who will next play his childhood friend, Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

“This happened in Rotterdam. I managed to win these close matches. I played good on break points, to save my break points. That’s important and that’s what brings you confidence.

“In Doha, I saved a few set points against Felix (Auger-Aliassime, in the semifinals). That was the missing part in my game…winning, because I felt I was still playing good tennis.”


> Nickname is Bear because his last name originates from Russian word “medved,” which means bear

> No relation to former World No. 4 Andrei Medvedev

> Parents wanted him to take up swimming at age 9, but when he arrived at the pool, he saw an announcement for tennis classes

> Inspired when he watched countryman Marat Safin win 2005 Australian Open title

> Dream opponent is Pete Sampras

> Enjoys reading as well as playing chess and PlayStation.

> Fan of FC Bayern Munich and football players David Alaba, Robert Lewandowski and former striker Mario Gomez.

> Would choose Quentin Tarantino to play him in a film about his life.


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