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Daniil Medvedev reached the Australian Open final in 2021.

Medvedev Working On That Winning Feeling

Russian is the highest seed in the men's draw

Despite breaking through for his first major title at last year’s US Open, World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev is taking nothing for granted. More Grand Slam glory will take more hard work, more improvement.

The Russian was impressive in his first Grand Slam match since his US Open triumph, defeating Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3) on Tuesday. But it was just the first of what the 25-year-old hopes is a seven-step process leading to the trophy ceremony on Rod Laver Arena 12 days from now.

“I always try to look for how can I become either better or keep the level,” said Medvedev after the match, “but in my opinion you can only try to improve and that's how you can keep the high level going.

“I know what I have to do before the match, after the match, one day before the match, to feel good. That's what I'm trying to reproduce.”

Medvedev did acknowledge that coming to the Australian Open a Grand Slam winner has given him extra belief in his ability to win major titles. “Before I was in the [US Open] final, I kind of knew to be in the final was possible. You need to just play good for five, six matches, and you will be in the final.

“After the US Open, I know I'm capable of playing seven great matches in a row on the same court, beating the best players in the world. Sometimes maybe playing worse but still capable of winning matches, and that's the biggest confidence I can give myself, just knowing that it's possible.

“It doesn't really put pressure on me, because I know that if I lose first round or if I win the tournament, if I did everything I can, it's not meant to be, or it is.”

One key component of the Russian’s upward trajectory has been coach Gilles Cervara, and Medvedev says the journey to the Top 10 has been a learning experience for both. “Definitely me as a player and him as a coach, we grew up,” said Medvedev. “I think we both understood a lot of things about ourselves, and me about him and him about me.

“We always try to improve. Sometimes we understand each other without talking, sometimes we can argue. It's a process. We both see in each other that we want to improve and that's most important, and that's when the process can go on.”

This ability to come through tough moments was instantly on display during the win over World No. 91 Laaksonen. Medvedev lost his opening service game but recovered quickly to take the first set 6-1. “He made a lot of errors,” said the Russian. “The second set was tougher and third set he played really top level. I'm happy that I managed to stay calm on my serve.

“In the tie-break I managed to turn it my way. Any round in a Grand Slam is never easy and to win in three sets, no matter the score, is always good.”

Medvedev faces either qualifier Liam Broady or World No. 115 Nick Kyrgios in second round. The prospect of facing home favourite Kyrgios, who leads Medvedev 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, will not change the second seed’s focus on his own game. “I will do my preparation. If I play well, it's not going to be easy for him and we will probably have a good match.

“If I have to play him, it's definitely not going to be easy against the crowd. He's going to try to pump himself up, he likes to play big names.”

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