Medvedev Eager To Meet 'Virtual' Teammate
The World No. 2, who captured four tour-level titles in 2021, will once again lead his country at the 16-team tournament as Russia aims to retain its crown in Sydney.
Ahead of his opening match, the 25-year-old spoke to ATPTour.com about the Russian team, his earliest tennis memories and more.
If you could take one shot from any current Russian player and add it to your game, what would it be?
It is difficult because I like my game! I want to say Andrey’s forehand, but then I would have to change my game completely and I am not sure that is good. But I would say Andrey’s forehand because it is so huge.
Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
That would definitely be me. I am not sure about Evgeny [Karlovskiy] and Alexander [Shevchenko], because with Alexander we are really good virtual friends because we play a lot of PlayStation together, but it is going to be the first time I meet him in real life, so I don’t know if he is late or not. But I know I am late a lot of the time, which I don’t like, so it has to be me.
Can you describe the personality of your teammates in a few quick words?
Roman [Safiullin], is really calm. He thinks a lot, sometimes he overthinks. Evgeny is really easy going. He is the soul of the team. With Alexander, I know him only virtually, but he seems really funny and easy going and we were texting a lot in the past few days because I was helping him with his visa as he needed to get it within one or two days. He is really happy to come and is a great kid.
Tell me about your first tennis club in Russia?
There is a swimming pool in Moscow, which is quite famous and, almost like on top of the swimming pool, there was one court, carpet, and that is where I practised for the first four years from six until 10. A lot of good memories from there. Sometimes 12 guys on the same court and a lot of fun. Until I was 17, Russia has a strong winter with a lot of rain in autumn and spring and we were practising on taraflex. That is probably the fastest surface you can imagine, faster than carpet.
Which Russian players inspired you when you were growing up?
Unfortunately I didn’t see [Yevgeny] Kafelnikov play, I was too young and not that interested in tennis yet. I grew up watching mostly Marat [Safin] and Nikolay Davydenko and a little bit [Mikhail] Youzhny when I started playing juniors. They were the three biggest names I enjoyed watching and I enjoyed cheering for them in front of my TV.
Three things you love about Russia?
That is dangerous because I can’t say everything. I am really like the level of Russian food, but I am not talking about Russian cuisine itself, but about the food in general, I find it a really high level. Secondly, I really like Moscow; I am from there and really like the city. I enjoy coming back as much as I can if it doesn’t disrupt my tennis. Let’s go with the nightlife for the third one.
Where should tourists visit in Russia?
Red Square. That is easy. When you are born in a city and you have it in front of your feet, that is when you almost start forgetting about it and people will ask you, ‘are you going to Red Square’, and I don’t think I have been there for four or five years. People definitely should visit Red Square.