Medvedev Embracing Life In The Spotlight
The fourth-seeded Russian fell in the second round last year to Croatian Borna Coric, but arrives this year under much different circumstances. He’s jumped from No. 17 to a career-high No. 4 in the ATP Rankings over the past 12 months, but it’s his results in the second half of this season that have made fans take notice.
Medvedev has reached the final of his past six ATP Tour events, prevailing at the Rolex Shanghai Masters (d. Zverev), Western & Southern Open (d. Goffin) and St. Petersburg Open (d. Coric). He’s won 29 of his past 32 matches and arrives in Paris on a nine-match winning streak, having not dropped a set since his US Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal. The 23-year-old’s winning ways mean his days of anonymity are a thing of the past.
“More people recognise me in Russia and Europe and New York. In New York, I had to wear a hoodie all the time,” Medvedev said in his pre-tournament press conference on Sunday. "That's because I have worked so much. I have to live with it. That's part and parcel of my achievements and this is what I'm doing.”
Although Medvedev is getting more attention, he hasn’t let success get to his head. The Russian still confides in the same close-knit team and keeps a low profile when possible. Although his peers on Tour certainly recognise how dangerous he is on the court, they haven’t treated him differently off of it.
“The only thing that has changed is that before I would win a tournament every four months. Every time you win a tournament, a Masters 1000, everybody congratulates you,” Medvedev said. “Now a lot of people are laughing and saying, ‘Okay, we're not going to congratulate you anymore because we'll have to do that every week and it's just tiresome.’ Just jokes like this, but nothing much has changed.”
Having already secured his maiden appearance at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November, the Russian could also end the year inside the Top 3 of the ATP Rankings. But while he’s at the front of the conversation about who will dethrone the Big Three, Medvedev has opted to run his own race.
“It's hard to explain because when I was No. 15 [in the ATP Rankings], I was good already. Then I wanted to get into the Top 10, which is never easy. I just want to see how far I can go,” Medvedev said. “It could be No. 1. If it doesn't happen, that means that I wouldn't be strong enough. I know that to be high up in the [ATP Race To London], you have to do a significant effort, but I'm trying to do my best.”
Medvedev will begin his week against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy or American Sam Querrey. Although he’s a main contender to take the title in Paris, the Russian isn’t relying on his past success to carry him through the draw. He’s established his momentum by treating each match with the importance of a final and sees no reason to change what has been working.
“It's not that I'm afraid, but rather that I don't want it to stop,” Medvedev said. “I want to work as hard as I can to make sure that this momentum doesn't stop. It has worked well so far and I hope to continue.
“My goal is still the same: to be better every day with each training, each tournament [and] to win tournaments. It's been working well so far. It's a source of real pleasure.”