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Medvedev: 'Friends & Enemies Don't Exist' On The Court

2020 Nitto ATP Finals champ beat close friend Rublev in Turin
November 14, 2023
Daniil Medvedev sits atop the Red Group after Monday's play.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tuor
Daniil Medvedev sits atop the Red Group after Monday's play. By ATP Staff

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are two of the closest friends on the ATP Tour, so much so that Rublev is godfather to Medvedev's daughter. But across their nine Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings, they have also become familiar foes on the court.

Medvedev, who leads the series 7-2 following his straight-sets win on Monday at the Nitto ATP Finals, says he is able to put their relationship to one side in between the lines.

"To be honest, on court, I don't know how it is for him — for me on court, doesn't exist, friends, enemies. I just try to win the match. I don't think about anything else.

"But when the last point is finished, it's like I feel sorry for him, he lost the match. But it's the same for him. If he beats me, I mean, last year was brutal when he beat me [in Turin]. So I felt for one or two days he was kind of shy to talk to me, taking care.

"It's the same. You always try to look at him and see if tomorrow we can talk like normal. I'm going to say to him good luck, go for it the next matches, and he's probably going to say the same."

So how long does Medvedev need to cool off after a defeat? 

"Depends the person. Me, usually — depends the match — but in general I need probably one hour, around this. Depends the match. Sometimes two. Sometimes 30 minutes. I kind of laugh about it. For sure I will be disappointed, but I can talk to people, laugh about it.

"I think Andrey needs a little bit more time, but that's just the way he is."

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Medvedev's next matchup will be against Alexander Zverev on Wednesday, when Rublev will meet Carlos Alcaraz. Medvedev and Zverev are both 1-0 after the German defeated Alcaraz in three sets earlier on Monday.

While the result was an upset by seeding, Medvedev was not surprised by the scoreline considering both players' recent form.

"If you would ask me two, three months ago, for sure [I would be surprised]," he said. "Tennis is a very, very tricky sport. At this moment, for whatever reason, we feel that Carlos plays just a little bit slower. He doesn't have the same confidence he had throughout the whole year. This can happen to everyone. This even happen to Novak when he was younger. The question is, how fast is he going to recover? Is it going to be this tournament or next year?

"When he lost the second set, they showed the speed of the strokes, groundstrokes. Sascha was like 10 kilometers [per hour] higher than Carlos. This is very surprising. In general when I saw the match, in the beginning we felt that Carlos is not playing his best. Sascha also. So I'm not surprised at all.

"In the end it turned out to be a great fight and a great match. No surprises. Sascha can play well also, serve well. It's going to be interesting to play him for the 18th time."

If that number sounds like an exaggeration, it is not. Medvedev leads his Lexus ATP Head2Head against Zverev 10-7, including wins in four of their five meetings this season.

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