Daniil Medvedev found the recipe for success

For three weeks, the observation has been the same: in the end, it is Daniil Medvedev who wins. In mid-February, the Russian first won the Rotterdam tournament (ATP 500), before moving on to Doha (ATP 250). Then, on March 4, the sixth player in the world made the pass of three by winning in Dubai (ATP 500) without losing a set in five games, after an expeditious final (6-2, 6-2) against his compatriot Andrey Rublev (7ᵉ). “It’s not over yet [ce n’est pas encore fini] »he wrote, teasingly, on camera after that win.

Friday March 10 (at 3 o’clock in the night from Friday to Saturday in Paris), Medvedev will distribute his first racket shots at the Indian Wells tournament (United States), against the American Brandon Nakashima (48ᵉ). At the dawn of the first Masters 1000 of the season, the most important category after the Grand Slams, he therefore appears to be the man to beat. All the more so in the absence of world number 1, Novak Djokovic, not vaccinated against Covid-19.

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At the end of January, the Russian still seemed far from the mark. After two straight finals in 2021 and 2022, he stopped in the third round of the Australian Open, beaten in three sets by the American Sebastian Korda. Which saw him leave the top 10 for the first time since entering it in July 2019. “It’s not the result he was expecting, it was mentally complicated after Melbourne,” concedes Eric Hernandez, his physical trainer.

Fourteen consecutive victories

Despite the doubts and lack of confidence, the Muscovite continued to train hard with his 100% French team. “The key is continuity of work, continues Eric Hernandez, who is starting his ninth season with him. It always ends up paying off, you have to be persistent. »

Since then, the Russian has not lost, a series of fourteen consecutive victories. His physical trainer retains two. That against the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime (10th in the world) in the quarter-finals in Rotterdam, “important for his confidence”, because it had been thirteen months since he had won against a top 10 player. Then that against Novak Djokovic, hitherto undefeated in 2023, in the semi-finals in Dubai. ” These last years, [Daniil Medvedev] became one of the most important players on the circuit, greeted the world number 1 after their match. It should never be underestimated. »

The Serb knows it only too well: it was against him that Medvedev had won his first Major, the US Open, in 2021, depriving him at the same time of achieving a calendar Grand Slam (winning the four Grand Slam tournaments Slam the same year) unreleased. A few months later, at the end of February 2022, the 1m98 Russian rose to the top of the world hierarchy. Becoming the first player outside the Big Four – Swiss Roger Federer, Spaniard Rafael Nadal, Serbian Novak Djokovic and Scot Andy Murray – to occupy this place since 2004.

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