© Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev enters an ATP Masters 1000 event as the World No. 2 for the first time at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Medvedev: World No. 2 ‘Just Gives Me Some Energy’

Russian enters Miami as top seed

Daniil Medvedev feels no added pressure since breaking a 15-year stranglehold on the top two of the FedEx ATP Rankings a week ago. It would have been understandable had he carried the weight of expectation on the eve of the Miami Open presented by Itau, where he arrived as top seed.

Last Monday, the Russian became the first player other than Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray to be ranked in the top two since 2005. It only bolstered his belief that he belonged among the elite.

“It's been already one week, I could feel maybe pressure, [but] no, I feel like it just gives me some energy boost,” Medvedev said. “I just want to play better and better to prove to myself I deserve this and hopefully I can show some great tennis in Miami.”

The Russian started the season by winning all four matches he played to lead his nation to ATP Cup glory in Melbourne (d. Italy), before he advanced to his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open last month (l. to Djokovic). Victory in the Open 13 Provence final in Marseille – his 10th career ATP Tour title – last Sunday was an early gift, a day before his new career-high ranking was released.

“Definitely being top seed for a Masters [1000] event, especially this one in Miami, being No. 2 in the world, I'm enjoying the moment. I don’t feel the pressure except for the pressure that I like to win matches and I want to win every tournament I play. 

“Since I was young this pressure always stays with me, but I feel like it's a good competitive pressure. I don't really feel pressure from the outside because I know that if I play good I have my chances to win the tournaments and that's the most important.”

You May Also Like: Rublev: 'I'm Afraid That I'm Just Lucky'

After claiming an ATP Tour-leading 59 match wins in 2019, highlighted by a 29-3 stretch that included six straight finals and his first ATP Masters 1000 title (Cincinnati), Medvedev picked up where he left off in 2020. He won his last 10 matches of the season and secured the Nitto ATP Finals trophy. His ascent to No. 2 did not come out of the blue.

“To be honest it was such a long time ago everything changed,” he said. “I became … more mature in terms of tennis, in terms of life also. I worked a lot on the practice court, improved big time my tennis, my physical[ity] for sure, my mental strength. All of these small details, they count.” 

The three-time Masters 1000 winner plays either Sam Querrey or Yen-Hsun Lu in his opening match in Miami. He has not faced either player in four years, but recalls vividly their respective encounters.

“I remember I beat both of them,” he said. “Especially against Sam, it was on grass and he made the semis at Wimbledon after the tournament so it was an amazing win for me at the time … I'm gonna see who wins and then prepare a little bit for the winner. 

Yen-Hsun Lu is a really solid baseline player. Sam is different - big serve, big forehand. For sure two different plans depending who I play.”

More stories like this in: