Daniil Medvedev may be in the clay-court form of his life, but he is taking nothing for granted at Roland Garros.
The World No. 2 arrived in Paris for the second Grand Slam of the season fresh from lifting his maiden tour-level title on clay in Rome. Medvedev’s charge to his sixth ATP Masters 1000 crown was the latest demonstration of his development on a surface that he has long listed as his least favourite on the ATP Tour.
Now the owner of a 10-2 record on clay for the season, Medvedev has emerged as one of the pre-tournament favourites for Roland Garros despite never having previously advanced past the quarter-finals. The 27-year-old acknowledged the positive vibes from Rome still linger, but he is reluctant to get carried away as he prepares for his first-round match against a qualifier in the French capital.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, in a way,” said Medvedev on Friday at his pre-tournament press conference. “But what happened in Rome was amazing, especially beating a lot of good players, you know: Zverev, Tsitsipas, Rune, Zapata Miralles, Ruusuvuori, who went three sets with Alcaraz in Madrid.
“That’s an amazing feeling, and I for sure maybe have more expectation than I usually have in Roland Garros. But I know that it’s also tricky and you have to kind of use this confidence, but not get cocky, because that’s where the danger is. Sometimes you think, ‘Oh, well, I played so well, now it’s going to be easy’. Then the first round you have problems. You can get angry and maybe lose the match.
“I have been in this situation many times, and I just want to try to play good tennis here in Roland Garros.”
Medvedev described feeling good from the moment he stepped on the practice court in Rome, and the second seed has already begun adapting to the slightly different conditions in Paris. However, the 20-time tour-level titlist is reluctant to read too much in to his pre-tournament sessions as he bids for his first Grand Slam crown since his 2021 US Open triumph.
“I had two practices here. I felt good. Both of them on [Court Philippe Chatrier],” said Medvedev. “I felt good, played kind of like in Rome. It’s a little bit different here. The balls are much heavier, so I’m sure it’s going to be much more rallies than previous years. They felt really heavy for whatever reason.
“I felt good. Maybe not as amazing as in Rome, but again, it really doesn’t matter that match, and the most important is when the tournament starts.”
Medvedev’s stellar 2023 has carried the 27-year-old within reach of a return to the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He attributed his red-hot form on hard courts across February and March, when he won trophies in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai, and Miami, as key to his subsequent success in a part of the year when he has historically struggled.
“I think the fact that I started the year so well, without talking about Australia, helped me to just be confident in myself and kind of say, ‘OK, I don’t like clay but let’s try to do something big’.”
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