Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 26, 2024

Daniil Medvedev – Pre-Tournament Press Conference – 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Hello, everyone.

Q. Daniil, welcome back. We haven’t seen you since Australia. How long did it take you to get over that? What have you been doing since?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, to be honest, ‘get over’ was quite easy. As I said after the match, I felt like it would be easy because I played a great tournament, I played a good final. I really don’t have anything to go at me, like, this forehand, this backhand.

I played good. He managed to change a little bit tactically. Physically I was tired, for sure. I was fine. I had some pains here and there. I was really looking forward to playing in Doha normally. That was the plan. Rotterdam was too soon after such a tough Australian Open. Then I decided with my team if we want to have a good season, a healthy season, we needed to skip Doha also.

I’m feeling quite good here. The most important is the match. It’s tomorrow. Let’s see how it goes.

Q. What did you do to recover? Did you start training? How long did you take?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I took a week off, if I’m not mistaken, a week and a half off. Actually I was feeling quite good. I started to practice again. Then on practice here, there, as I say, it was not only one pain, it was a little bit the whole body was not usually as it is after one week and a half off. We started to get into it a little bit more. There were some issues.

The thing is if I play, I could have worsen it. That’s not the moment of the season where I want to do it. Basically then it became a little bit trickier because I was trying to practice but also to recover. It’s never easy.

Right now I came to Dubai Monday and I managed to have a good week of practice, so everything should be fine.

Q. What was the problem, Daniil? It looked like even in Australia there was problems.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, no, in Australia I would think fine. It was more physically exhausted.

So after coming back, I had a little bit foot, adductor, shoulder. As I say, it was not one. It wasn’t too bad. But it needed treatment, it needed time. Time in tennis is the toughest part. Even by skipping Rotterdam and Doha, it’s not like I skipped two months, it’s two weeks. In these two weeks you try to recover to try to be here in Dubai.

I think, yeah, we did enough to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. I believe you’re starting to work with Gilles Simon. Can you tell us the thought process behind that, what you think he’ll bring to the table.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, sometimes Gilles cannot travel 365 days, so there were always two, three tournaments a year where we were normally together. Usually I would just take my physical coach. Before long time ago, it was Igor Andreev, especially on clay. This year we talked. Depends the calendar. We thought maybe he wanted, like, four tournaments.

I was like, I better try to find someone. I thought not to find just someone who is going to help you organization, I want to try to find someone who is going to help me with my game.

I thought about Gilles Simon for many different reasons. He knows tennis well. You can see it. He was able to beat me and make me feel not good on the court. Together the two Gilles could discuss what was he doing to make me in trouble, and what can we do in practice to work on it. Small things like this.

So far I really like it. We share a little bit the same mentality. We’re easygoing. Some people, is it 10 tournaments, is it a contract for one year, two years. We just start working. If it doesn’t work, we finish tomorrow. If it works well, maybe we do many years. So far it’s been working well and we go forward from there.

Q. Last year you did big job, good job. What about the new season? Can you fix some target for this season?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, last year was completely different story. Australian Open was really not bad, but third round. Not good enough in my perspective. Then I had an amazing Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami. This year different because Australian Open was amazing, almost won it, but didn’t happen. Great tournament. Amazing, amazing feeling.

Because of this, tougher to get into other tournaments. Right now I’m coming into Dubai… Last year I was in confidence, winning two tournaments. Here I’m coming back from a tournament that was already months ago.

First match is going to see how is my game, where I’m at, am I going to be able to play good straightaway because I play a good opponent. So different story.

If we talk about targets, stay healthy for sure. Even if I’m still young, I consider myself young, but I’m getting older. Sometimes pain grows in some parts of my body.

But stay healthy, continue what I did in Australia, meaning play well. Also I want to, as I said in Australia, I want to feel better on the court, feel better in my life, for this to be more open.

Yeah, that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Q. Last year you dropped out of the top 10 just one week, went on a crazy run, which I would assume maybe you were fueled a little bit because of that.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: For sure, yeah.

Q. This year it’s different. Like you said, you had a good start. Do you feel different motivation-wise? Do you need to find a different way to fuel yourself, given how much you won at this point last year?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think the feeling is definitely different. As I say, it’s actually very tough to explain. That’s what I want to work on also with myself, with the help of my team.

It was before Wimbledon last year, I remember the grass tournaments before Wimbledon. So Roland Garros I lose first round. Winning Rome, which was amazing. I was like, Okay, Now it’s been four or five Grand Slams where I was not playing as I wanted to. After the Rafa final, I didn’t get into quarters, only fourth round in US Open. The rest were lower than fourth round.

Now I want to use ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle as a practice tournament. All my eyes are on Wimbledon. I want to do well there, I want to be ready. I managed to do it. I managed to play well US Open and Australian Open.

I feel because of this last year, other tournaments, except Grand Slams, I didn’t manage to find exactly the fire which you need to win the tournaments because you’re going to play the best players in the world.

That’s what I want to try also to work this year, to have this ability to be able to give my thousand percent like I did in Grand Slams, but also to be able to be fueled enough in other tournaments. That’s the first one where I start tomorrow.

Q. Do you feel in order to compete with Sinner, Alcaraz, Novak, because maybe in a different situation doing well in the slams, one or two tournaments, you’re fine, but with that particular group, you really need to compete every single week.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, especially last year. As I say, maybe I didn’t have the exact fire on some tournaments. I managed to make two finals, one semis in Nitto ATP Finals, and it was Sinner who beat me in both finals. He was playing well. He continues to play well.

Yeah, sometimes either it’s a 500 or a slam, you play Jannik in the final, you need to be at your best to try to get the title.

Yeah, as you say, that’s a case even last year when I was playing good and winning all these titles, Grand Slam is tougher for a lot of different reasons. Any title is tough. 250 is tough. I find a challenger is tough. You need to be at your best from the first match to the last.

What is easier, especially on 250s, is it’s four matches, so you need to be four matches at your best. Grand Slam is seven but it’s out of five. It’s just the duration where you have to play at your best.

Q. I want to ask you about Jannik. You had this great run against him. Suddenly that seemed to alter a little bit. What has changed? What is he doing differently? How does that match up for you mentally?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: To be honest, he just plays better. Maybe the first match in Beijing when he managed to beat me for the first time, he mixed up some things comparing to before. Then in the next matches I just feel like he plays better than before.

Before the matches were tough when I won them, but he could miss here and there, break point, miss a first serve, a forehand straightaway. Now it doesn’t happen anymore. Even if he does, he’s going to make a good shot. For me that happened. He just started playing better.

Mentally, well, I honestly don’t feel like I’m let’s call it scared or anything like this. It’s just you know before the match it’s a tough match. He’s playing very good. You know, like in Australia I managed to do, you need to be at your absolute best. All the shots have to be perfect to try to win the match. Even that could be not enough, like it was in Australia. That’s a force that big tennis players have, and he’s definitely the big one right now.

Q. In the US Open you said after beating Alcaraz, to play Djokovic again in the final, it was hard to get those kind of matches back to back. I wonder if that’s the challenge and that’s why also you have Gilles with you for that kind of a challenge?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I think for this it’s more I would think mental work. What happened is when you play Alcaraz, Sinner, Djokovic, all other players also, but the difference is with other players, including myself sometimes, when I play good on Grand Slams not, you can be maybe at 98% and not 100%. Like I say, like Jannik before, there’s going to be a break point, not going to make a perfect shot, maybe he’s going to miss it.

Novak, Carlos, Jannik, you make a bad shot on a break point, you go back to deuce, and it is tough. So mentally you have to be at your best from beginning to end. That’s what I managed to do with Carlos in US Open.

I feel like at this moment he was still on the top of the top. Now he’s playing just a little bit worse. It happens in everybody’s career.

To do the same against Novak, I didn’t manage to do it. The second set was amazing. Everyone is telling me if you would have won it, maybe you could have changed the match. I’m not sure. I felt like the concentration was not there permanently on all the match.

That’s more mental work for me than tennis-wise with any of the Gilles. Yeah, let’s see.

Q. When you see this picture ( a photo of Rafa and Novak on the same flight).

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I saw it a little bit.

Q. What can you say?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: First of all, I was surprised. Where are they going so early. Indian Wells? Why so early (smiling)?

It’s fun. I guess they didn’t for sure talk to each other before to choose the same flight. I guess it was a surprise for me. When you see another tennis player on the plane like this, it’s a good surprise, which especially them for are rivals for 20 years. It’s a fun picture.

It shows you on tennis tour, you see other players in the plane, you laugh about it, take a picture. Maybe they talked a little. Then you forget about it. They go Indian Wells, prepare their way. That’s how tennis tour is. Friendly, easygoing.

Q. You mentioned the Rafa match in Australia. Did you see that as like a big lesson learned because it kind of obviously was a turning point for you at some point?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I don’t know, because for sure I’m still disappointment because that one was close. Closer than the Jannik match. Also mentally with the crowd and this and that. Somewhere in the match I really felt like I’m there, not that I have to win it, but I was really close in my mind.

Yeah, it’s something inside of me was not good after this match. You never know if for that reason 2022 I didn’t perform at my best after because there can be many, many different reasons. It was the case. Especially in Grand Slams later I didn’t manage to perform well.

Not sure it’s even a lesson. I would prefer not to have this lesson. But in life not everything goes as you prefer. So this happened. I have to go on from it. I would say I hope that it was a lesson and I can take anything from it. Even if not, I just have to forget it and go.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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