Medvedev Readies For ‘One Of The Strongest Draws Ever’ In Rotterdam
Daniil Medvedev rewarded himself for reaching the Australian Open final with a handful of days off, and then got right back to work as he set his sights on a major breakthrough at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
The Russian is the top seed at the season’s first ATP 500 event. He leads a stacked field that features four of the tour’s Top 10 including Stefanos Tsitsipas and countryman Andrey Rublev, two players he defeated en route to the final in Melbourne.
Medvedev must take on one of the toughest Rotterdam fields in recent memory in his quest to become the new World No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. If the Russian reaches the final, he will become the first player outside the Big Four — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — to hold a top two spot since Lleyton Hewitt was World No. 2 back in 2005.
“The draw is really strong. I think for [an ATP] 500 event, it’s one of the strongest draws I’ve seen maybe ever,” Medvedev said in a pre-tournament press conference. "We have [four] Top 10 guys, which is unbelievable.”
It’s an additional challenge for a player who doesn’t mind going about things the hard way. Medvedev had to defeat the top three players in the world to win the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals, and he beat 12 Top 10 opponents during his 20-match winning streak that ended in Melbourne. During that stretch, Medvedev won his third Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Paris Masters, the biggest title of his career in London, helped lead Russia to its first ATP Cup and reached his second Grand Slam final at Melbourne Park.
“There’s some confidence when you win tournaments. I won three in a row, one of them [the ATP Cup] was a team competition, of course,” he said. “When you get the confidence going, in the tight moments you feel like you can always make the winners or put the ball back in the court when you have to and make your opponent miss.”
Medvedev admitted that the idea of potentially ending the week with a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking comes with some additional pressure, but he’s determined to take it one match at a time as he seeks his first trophy in Rotterdam.
“It’s a normal part of a tennis career to have some pressure,” Medvedev said. “I would say the most pressure would start around [the] quarters or semis. In the first or second round, it’s still kind of far to look ahead. I’m getting ready for my first round and I’m not thinking at all about this, but for sure when it comes closer it’s going to stay in my mind.”
Medvedev will face Dusan Lajovic in the opening round as the Russian contests his first match since the Australian Open final. He previously reached the semi-finals in Rotterdam in 2019, and will aim to improve his 1-1 ATP Head2Head record against the Serbian player. Should he advance, Top 10 players Alexander Zverev and Robert Bautista Agut loom in his section as potential semi-final matchups.
“The courts are really slow here so the conditions he probably will like,” Medvedev said of his clash against Lajovic. “Of course it’s indoor hard, so the serve and return will be very important. The more returns you make and more aces you hit the more pressure you put [on your opponent]. I’m definitely expecting a tough match against Dusan.”