© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Daniil Medvedev is seeking his 11th tour-level title, and his first on clay, at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

Medvedev: ‘It’s All About The Small Adjustments’ On Clay

Russian to face Kecmanovic or Karatsev in opening match

Different week, same goal for Daniil Medvedev.

After breaking his duck with a maiden victory at the Mutua Madrid Open last week, the third seed has his sights set on doing the same at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Keeping the expectations in check and goals manageable has been the theme of the clay-court swing for Medvedev, who is famously averse to all things clay. After missing the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters due to COVID-19, Medvedev began his run with a 0-2 record in Madrid and Rome and 0-4 at Roland Garros.

But according to Medvedev, who will return to World No. 2 on Monday, the positive signs are there in Madrid after he took down an in-form Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his opening match and pushed 16th seed Cristian Garin to three sets.

“If we talk about Madrid, of course in general the result I did there, I'm not happy, but I played against two really great clay-court players,” Medvedev said in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I mean, Davidovich beat [Matteo] Berrettini in Monte-Carlo, and now Berrettini is in the final in Madrid. Cristian was actually up a set and a break against Matteo, who is in the final of Madrid. [It] was two good matches, one that I managed to win, so [it] gives [me] some confidence.”

Medvedev also admitted that he’s still working to fine-tune his game on the red dirt, and is still trying to figure out the right formula for the results he is used to seeing on the faster surfaces. The Russian reached his second Grand Slam final on hard-courts at the Australian Open this year (also 2019 US Open) and ended last season with the biggest trophy of his career at the indoor Nitto ATP Finals.

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But he has also fought to big wins on clay too. In 2019, Medvedev made the Monte-Carlo semi-finals with victories over Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas. That same year, he went on to reach the final in Barcelona (l. Thiem) with a victory over two-time champion Kei Nishikori along the way. With only five points to defend this week in the eternal city, if Medvedev can regain that form he could gain some ground on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

“I'm never going to be like some Spanish players that from [when] they are young they know, ‘Okay, I turn around the forehand, I spin the ball, I play high over the net, I make the ball bounce close to the line,’” Medvedev reflected.

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“So I have to, with my shots that I know how to make work on hard courts, make small adjustments to make them work for clay… Physically I need to improve and matches will help me. It's about the small adjustments.”

Into the second round with a bye in Rome, Medvedev awaits the winner between Miomir Kecmanovic and countryman Aslan Karatsev for his first test.

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