The Russian talks about the keys to his success after his second career Masters 1000 title run in Shanghai
Daniil Medvedev credits his steady improvement and maturity as a player and person for his ability to overcome lopsided head-to-head results with top players. The Russian, now ranked No.4 in the world at the back end of a season that has seen him win four titles, notch 59 wins and become just the fifth active player to reach six consecutive finals, has snapped losing streaks to Borna Coric and Alexander Zverev to win titles this fall.
“I think I just became a better player than I was when I played him four times before,” he said after winning for the first time in five tries against Alexander Zverev on Sunday in Shanghai. “For example, it was same against Coric. Before the final in St. Petersburg, I was quite nervous because I lost four matches, I think (he entered with a 1-4 lifetime record against the Croatian).
Medvedev says that something clicked this summer and since then he has hit another level with his tennis.
“I think I became a better player than I was even in the beginning of the year, and that's why some of these results can change like this,” he said. “I think it's everything together, like something clicked in my game in USA. I don't know why. I think it's just the hard work that I have been doing.”
Medvedev says that he understands his game and the way he needs to play to be successful more than ever before.
“I started to understand even more about my game, even more I would say about my serve, about my volley, about everything, like kind of what do I have to do when?” he said.”That's why many of these matches, as I say, I could have lost at least three sets here but finally didn't lose one. That's why [in] crucial moments I kind of know what do I have to do and where do I have to play—If I have to play it with spin or slice or dropshot, stuff like this.”
Medvedeve, who pulled out of this week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow, leads the ATP in wins with 59 and hard court wins with 46. He has notched eight Top 10 to nearly double his career total and he has won his last eleven tiebreakers to improve his tiebreaker record to 23-8 overall.
Tennis is all about strategy–reading the game, thinking the game, feeling the game. @DaniilMedwed always has a plan when he steps on court.
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) October 12, 2019
He says he recognized that he doesn’t have the weapons that can take the racquet out of his opponent’s hands so he has had to become a better tactician and employer of variety and the element of surprise.
“I have a smart game play, because I do think that I don't have some arms that other people may have,” he said. “Like even talking about the serve, I improved it a lot, but for example, I cannot serve 230. I don't know why, but I cannot do it.
“So I have to play with my game. And as I say, I started to understand my game much more and trying to mix things up, trying to choose the best shot possible in every situation. I think, if I make these results, it means that I can play smart.”