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Daniil Medvedev can’t forget Rafael Nadal: “Some things remain inexplicable” – In depth interview

Daniil Medvedev
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There are matches you never forget, and that’s what happens to Daniil Medvedev: he is clear about his training method and his goals, he is happy with new technical details he is adding to his game, but more often than not, one day comes back to his mind: 27 January 2022, defeat in the Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal after holding a two-sets-to-zero lead.

“Many things still stick in my mind to this day. Some things remain inexplicable,” the world number four admitted in an interview with CLAY in which he also revealed some tics and obsessions, including when he is able to eat as a match approaches. And when not: “Exactly two and a half hours before. Not a minute before, not a minute after”.

– How long did it take you to recover from the last Australian Open? You spent a long time on the court. Almost in every match.

– It was physically extremely demanding. Not so much mentally. I’m still very proud of my performance. In the analysis after the lost final, we noted that I probably didn’t do much wrong. It was just about a few points. I left Australia with a good feeling. It took me two days to get over it. Physically, it was much more difficult. I have to admit that.

– Do you still have certain scenes from the match against Sinner in mind? You are known for your good memory in the scene…

– Yes, I can remember many situations. Break points, specific points. Won and lost ones. Maybe that’s really a talent of mine. I also remember matches from many years ago very well. At least some of them.

– What has been the biggest mental challenge of your career so far?

– That was the match against Rafa Nadal at the Australian Open two years ago. The final, which I lost. It was very tough for me. For many reasons. I usually look forward after matches. This time it was different. I kept looking back at that one match against Rafa. Many things still stick in my mind to this day. Some things remain inexplicable. But one thing is certain: I learned a lot from the loss. I may have also become a better player because of it.

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Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev at the trophy ceremony, 2022 Australian Open

– What role do routines play in your life as an athlete?

– Definitely a very big one. I have many routines. They are very important to me. But you also have to change them from time to time. Otherwise, they won’t work anymore. I eat exactly 2 hours and 30 minutes before my matches. Always. It can’t be a second earlier or later. A tick. I don’t change these things. Other things, like training before a match, I sometimes adjust. We tennis players are crazy. Everyone has routines and lives them out. The question is: How can you use this craziness, this madness, these many quirks to your advantage so that you win matches? That’s what drives me.

– How do you train your mind? Do you have special methods?

– I worked with a mental coach in 2022. Now I don’t have one anymore. I just don’t need one. It runs by itself because I keep discovering new sources of strength within myself. I can really look into myself well. It’s a constant process with myself.

– What’s new in your game? Providing there is something new.

– I want to surprise my opponents with new weapons. And develop new tactical moves. That’s the plan and my goal. Now I just have to get it onto the court. That’s the most important thing. Let’s see how it goes in Indian Wells and if I can incorporate some new elements into my game there. I started doing that in Australia. Very cautiously. You can’t approach something like that radically and change everything from the first match. Especially not at a Grand Slam tournament. But I’m sure I’ll surprise people in Indian Wells.

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– Do you see any new fundamental trends in tennis right now?

– The balls are getting heavier. The courts are getting slower. We only see rallies, rallies, rallies. That was different five years ago. Ten years ago, it was different again. So, that’s a clear trend. Let’s see where it develops. Maybe in ten years, we’ll have the fastest hard courts ever. And it’ll be all about serve and volley. Life goes forward and backward. Right now, tennis is getting slower. I’m not sure if I really like it. But it’s good for my tennis. However, the physical strain is immense. There are more and more injuries, especially now.

– The Laver Cup is coming to Berlin in September. It’s the biggest tennis event in Germany for many years. What is your relationship towards Germany?

– I’m a big Bayern Munich fan. Whenever there’s a European Championship or a World Cup, I root for the German team. There are always many Bayern players in the squad. I like the country. I’ve been to Germany at least five times. You can drive fast on the autobahn. I appreciate that (laughs). I’m looking forward to Berlin and the Laver Cup in September. I once won a big junior tournament there. So, the memories are good.

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If you liked this interview with Daniil Medvedev, don’t miss, in this link to our site, many other interviews to the great protagonists of tennis.

COVER PHOTO: Daniil Medvedev by Regina Cortina – @reginacortina.photography

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