Medvedev On Defending St. Petersburg Title: 'There Is Some Pressure'
Russian claimed first title on home soil at this event last year
The World No. 5 returns to the ATP 500 this year seeking to successfully defend an ATP Tour crown for the first time in his career. As the top seed and defending champion, the Moscow native is placing some pressure on his shoulders as he attempts to snap a three-match losing streak.
“Naturally, [as defending champion] there is some pressure, of course… If I show good tennis, I will have a good result,” said Medvedev. “I can play tennis, and if something doesn’t go well, then you can lose, so it’s a pressure on myself that you can feel during the match.”
Medvedev is joined in St. Petersburg by a stellar field of ATP Tour stars. The 32-man draw features five members of the Top 20 with each of the eight seeds present in the Top 30 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.
“Judging by the draw, the lineup is very strong… I [have] got a difficult draw, but sometimes it's better to start a tournament with tough opponents,” said Medvedev. “I will have to show my best game at the tournament from the get-go. In any case, I always have a philosophical attitude towards the draw. I can’t change its results, so I am just preparing for my next opponent. I hope to show a good [level of] tennis.”
Medvedev will open his title bid against former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman is making his return to St. Petersburg 11 years after losing in the first round to Marat Safin on his tournament debut.
Seven-time tour-level titlist Medvedev will be attempting to claim his first win against Gasquet in his second ATP Head2Head contest against the 34-year-old. Gasquet won their only previous encounter 6-0, 6-3 at the 2018 Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
“I will try to train as much as possible to prepare for the tournament… It seems to me that two or three days are enough to be ready to play the tournament when you are switching from clay to hard, so I feel that I am ready. [We] will see during the matches but I think I'll be 100 per cent ready.”