Preview: Medvedev, Rublev & Khachanov’s Historic Bid At Wimbledon
With three men into the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time in the Open Era, the Russian tennis boom shows no signs of slowing down at the All England Club. Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov will be in action on Manic Monday making a bid for a historic first: should two or more win, multiple Russian men will reach the quarter-finals at The Championships for the first time.
All three players would have to reach uncharted territory to achieve the feat for Russia. Khachanov is the only player from the history-making troika to have been in the fourth round before (2018). The last time three Russian players made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon was in 2006, when Elena Dementieva, Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova made their run.
It has already been a banner year for Russian men's tennis. Medvedev and Rublev led their country to the ATP Cup title at the start of the year, and then teammate Aslan Karatsev joined them with a dream run at the Australian Open. This is the third time in the Open Era that three Russian men have made the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam, with two of those instances coming this year (also the Australian Open).
Second seed Medvedev will enjoy a day of rest after pulling off his first comeback from two-sets-to-love down against Marin Cilic. He will take on 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz on No. 2 Court for a place in the quarter-finals. Should Medvedev advance, he could meet Roger Federer if the Swiss moves past Lorenzo Sonego in their Centre Court clash.
“Starting from [the 2019] US Open, I started to be, let's call it, maybe a ‘top player’," Medvedev reflected on Saturday. “I was in my first Grand Slam final. I [had] just won [an ATP] Masters 1000 for the first time. I came into the Top 10.
“That's when I started to really believe that I can win any tournament. I believe in it, but it's tough. I was two times in the final, playing against Novak [Djokovic at the Australian Open] and Rafa [Nadal at the US Open]. It's tough to win a Grand Slam.
“Coming here, I'm going to feel like I can make it. It can be my year, can be the next one. Maybe it's never. But I'm going to try my best.”
Fifth seed Rublev will face a familiar foe in Marton Fucsovics for their fifth clash this season. It’s the budding rivalry that the ATP Tour never knew it needed – and one that Fucscovics would rather do without, after famously telling the Russian, “I hope I don’t play you anymore this year!” after his defeat in Dubai. Sure enough, they met again a week later in Miami.
Rublev owns a 4-1 ATP Head2Head lead against Fucsovics, and has won all three of their completed matches in 2021 (Rublev received a walkover from the Hungarian in Doha). He could face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, should the Serbian advance past 17th seed Cristian Garin on Centre Court.
Khachanov will try to reach his second Grand Slam quarter-final when he plays #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda for the first time. The American has now made the fourth round on both his Roland Garros (2020) and Wimbledon debuts.
As the Russians vie for national glory at the All England Club, all eyes will be on Federer and Djokovic’s bid to rewrite the tennis record books as they headline Centre Court on Manic Monday. Federer will play 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego and Djokovic will battle Chilean No. 1 Garin.
Two Canadians will also be in action on Manic Monday as 10th seed Denis Shapovalov faces eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut while 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime seeks an upset over fourth seed Alexander Zverev on No. 1 Court. Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini will also feature as he faces Ilya Ivashka on Court 12.