Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev, who is coming off the biggest win of his career after capturing the US Open title last month, is hoping to carry that success over to this week’s Indian Wells tournament.
The 25-year-old Medvedev won his first Grand Slam title while preventing Novak Djokovic from becoming the first man since the legendary Rod Laver in the 1960s to win all four Grand Slam events in the same year.
“It was a big dream come true for me,” Medvedev said after practice Thursday at the ATP tournament in the Southern California desert. “I am motivated. I came here prepared.”
Since his dominating 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Djokovic, Medvedev has been receiving a lot more attention in public, especially from people who now recognize him in restaurants.
“Everybody talks about you in the media, the newspapers, and in Russia of course,” he said. “Some people texted me that I hadn’t seen for a long time.
“A lot of people tried to pay for me in restaurants. Sometimes I try to refuse it. I don’t see why to accept it from people I don’t know. It is funny, but strange anyway.”
Medvedev’s win follows heartbreak in previous Grand Slam finals. He came close to winning the 2019 US Open but lost in five sets to Rafael Nadal. Djokovic defeated Medvedev in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
He lost just one set during the US Open while earning $2.5 million and is the first Russian since Maria Sharapova to win a US Open singles title after her victory in 2006.
Medvedev has never been ranked higher than second in the world. But now that he has his first Grand Slam title under his belt by beating Djokovic, the obvious next step is to go gunning for world No. 1.
Medvedev decided not to make any changes to his schedule after his Slam breakthrough. He could have taken time off but doesn’t want to get complacent.
He spent his time between the US Open and now competing for the winning Team Europe at the Laver Cup in Boston before heading to Los Angeles for a week of training at the UCLA tennis facility in Los Angeles.
– Slam breakthrough –
“I haven’t left USA after US Open because I knew I had the Laver Cup and Indian Wells coming up,” he said. “My coach decided the best thing was to practice in Los Angeles.”
Medvedev wants to play in the Australian Open in January but declined Thursday to say whether he had received the Covid-19 vaccine. Australia’s has some of the toughest Covid-19 health and safety protocols in the world.
Medvedev didn’t say whether he is a vaccine sceptic, instead describing his secrecy as a strategic move.
“I don’t talk about my medical. I have had a lot of injuries. That’s how I protect myself from competition of the other players. I want to keep my medical private for me and my family.”
Top seed Medvedev received a bye through the first round and will face either Mackenzie McDonald of the USA or Australia’s James Duckworth in the second round.
In women’s early round play on Thursday, Czech Katerina Siniakova defeated former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 and Caroline Garcia of France rallied to beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.