Daniil Medvedev, the anti-hero greets you well

The "Medvedev show" hosted the last US Open, as in the round of 16, on September 1, when he challenged the crowd to feed on his whistles. Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

In six months, Daniil Medvedev passed from 14e world rank to dolphin of the unstoppable trio Djokovic-Nadal-Federer and with, of the status of Mister Nobody to new hero of the circuit. Larger world does not ignore his mischievous trombine, emaciated version of Quentin Tarantino, which spreads in "one" sports magazines.

Sunday, October 27, on the eve of the start of the tournament Bercy where he is one of the contenders for the title, journalists and photographers were cranking the feet to spend a few minutes in head-to-head with the revelation of the season. Red hoodie that thickens his frail silhouette, he adapts to this little media circus, distributing smile to everyone and " thank you " at the end.

Public Enemy Number One

Meanwhile, his compatriot Karen Khachanov was interested in being pelted and shorn at a press conference despite his title holder status. The two men are the same age (23 years) but in terms of charisma, there is about the same gulf as between a blobfish and a clownfish.

"Attitude is the only thing that is not calculated at home, it's almost impossible to control your emotions. For the rest, there is almost nothing spontaneous in my career … "Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev denies orthodoxy. In the clean image of MM. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in its sanitized version since the Serb takes the lead, the Russian opposes his impudence, his casualness and a good dose of sarcasm. "Attitude is the only thing that is not calculated at home, it's almost impossible to control your emotions. For the rest, there is almost nothing spontaneous in my career … ", he answers World in French, he who landed at 18 on the Côte d'Azur. Five years that he perfect his language skills at the Cannes Garden Center of former player Jean-Rene Lisnard, who wants to be the anti-Mouratoglou Academy and other nurseries in fashion. Coach, physical trainer, equipment manufacturer, snowshoe, everything or almost at home is "made in France".

The Russian got a name in New York during the last US Open where he was quickly named public enemy number one. A towel thrown in the face of a ball-gatherer who thought he was doing well by bringing it to him, a warning followed by a snowshoe, and a finger of honor along the slow-motion temple on the giant screen : Medvedev show started at 3e tower. The 1.98m racetrack put it back in the round of 16, defying the crowd by raising their arms to welcome the whistles.

Need to feed on adversity to transcend? "No, not at all, it was just context, he refuted placidly. I made a mistake, the audience started whistling and I said to myself "OK you were stupid to do that but you will not lose because of that". From there, I decided to consider them as opponents that I had to beat. Otherwise of course it's better to have them with you! "

Dr. Daniil in life, Mister Medvedev on the court … On the junior circuit, already, his mood swings were legendary, long braking hatching. This year, the former bonnet has won the first prize of regularity: six consecutive finals between July and October, ongoing series. The dilettante who until the spring had the reputation of missing out on big events, has since won two Masters 1000 (Cincinnati, Shanghai), and reached the final in Toronto and the US Open, where her aplomb broke the screen.

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Up two sets to zero in the Grand Slam final against Nadal, putting the Majorcan on his knees – literally – in the 5e set, you had to be cheeky. And inspired. He was even in his post-match speech, hilarious despite fatigue. So much so that in New York, the villain turned out to be the hero of the fortnight.

"Even when I sometimes see my technique on TV I say" Uh it's pretty weird "! Daniil Medvedev

Among the players of the Next Gen, we saw rather an Alexander Zverev or a Stefanos Tsitsipas to invite the first feast of a Grand Slam. It is ultimately the least aesthetic of them who feeds the least complexes to take over. A forehand that crumples the purists with his preparation to the limit of the swing, a setback with two hands any, strikes very flat, without special effects.

Everything seems too big, too long, too tense and yet he puts the ball in it. "Daniil Medvedev is winning ugly but he's winning a lot", had effectively summarized the New York Times in a title. Not enough to hurt him: "Even when I sometimes see my technique on TV I say" Uh it's pretty weird "! "

Machine to foil

Not the most beautiful, but the most effective this season: 59 wins since January. It is eleven more than Djokovic and Nadal, numbers one and two world (the Serb will give his throne to the Spaniard after Bercy on November 4). "The goal was to get into the Top 10. But I do not want to stop. I just want to see how far I can go: if it's world number one, it's number one. If I can not do it, well it will mean that I'm not strong enough. "

Medvedev is a pragmatist. For him, tennis is a duel, nothing more. A brain who likes to turn every match into chess. Interfering in the head of his opponent. And play the game of cat and mouse by deploying a game of aggressive counter. "Younger already, I often found that I had less weapons than my opponent, so I had to find some parries to win the match. Even today, I sometimes say to myself: it strikes harder than me, it serves more than me … what should I do? I am always looking for the solution. "

"Everybody asked for something new, I decided not to celebrate my victories. For the moment it makes me laugh. Daniil Medvedev

"A painful game," for Wawrinka. "A messy game but in a good way," for Nishikori. A game "Very boring, too boring," tenit Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was beaten by his eldest semifinal in Shanghai mid-October for the 5the times in a row. The two men are angry since the tournament in Miami in 2018. Medvedev had criticized a toilet break a little long to the Greek, who had called him "Russian shit" when shaking hands. "He's a kid who can not fight," Medvedev replied, not far from coming to blows.

He repeats that he is working to erase his moods on the court, but we can count on him to keep a bit of madness. "I always try to be myself. Everyone asked for novelty, I decided not to celebrate my victories. I do not know how long I'm going to do this and if it's going to last all my career but for the moment it makes me laugh. "

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It is only his thinness that worries some observers. In New York, he reassured his world by revealing his cute sin: the Hawaiian pizza. Heretic to the end of the fork.

In Bercy, Nadal and Djokovic but not Federer

Six players (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Medvedev, Thiem and Tsitsipas) already have tickets for the London Masters (November 10-17), a tournament that brings together the eight best players of the season. There remain two places to be taken during the tournament of Paris-Bercy.

Djokovic and Nadal, they compete for the place of world number one after a season where they will share the four Grand Slam trophies. The tournament dreamed of a gold platter with Roger Federer, but the world No. 3 has preferred to forfeit Monday, October 28: "I have to spare myself, because I want to play as long as possible on the ATP Tour. I am sorry for my French fans that I will see next year at Roland Garros ", tried to comfort them the Swiss of 38, the day after his 10e home win in Basel.


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