Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: We can start with questions.
Q. Nobody can underestimate the importance of balls in tennis. You’ve had complaints about the game balls in the past. Is there a process in which the players can actually participate in making decisions of what the balls should be like?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I don’t think so. First of all, you have to know how they’re done, and I have no idea. I could possibly maybe ask Tecnifibre for the ball I want. Well, then I should only go to two tournaments where Tecnifibre was.
I don’t know actually how the decision is done. I don’t want to be the only one. If I’m the only one to complain, then it’s just my problem.
Again, I feel like I have small right to complain because I’m not losing. It’s not like I lost, came here, say the balls are bad. In Doha I played with these balls. In Australia I played not so bad with these balls.
There’s a few things I felt even today. There was a game, what was it, 4-2 in the first set on his serve, and 3-1 in the second set, when the balls are almost at their lowest point. It felt like not me nor him, neither me nor him, could make a winner.
In my opinion, that’s little bit maybe even boring because I was hitting cross. I felt like I took the time from him. Just hit it back in the middle. I cannot do anything with the ball. I hit back in the middle, he hits back, whoever misses, the legs are burning…
Then the new balls for, like, three games, in Russia we call it ‘sky and ground’, they are completely different. It takes two games to get used to them, but then they’re dead again.
It’s a little bit strange in my opinion. Again, if I’m the only one, that’s only my problem. I just feel like that’s not good for the body, and that’s important.
Q. Two titles in two weeks. Going for three in a row. Does it feel like you’re on this crazy roll or not?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It feels great because confidence is very important in tennis. We all know it. I think every tennis player has different approaches to confidence.
For example, I have no idea, for me it’s more important to have the confidence kind of like in the moment than, for example, last year remembering I played good there. Maybe it’s different for Novak because when he comes to Australia, it feels like no matter what happened before, he’s always in confidence there. So for me it’s important in the moment.
Right now I feel great. Even today I felt like I was far from my best tennis, but I managed to close it out kind of in two sets. That always helps.
Yeah, I’m just really happy to be on a streak right now. Streaks always finish. I will try to extend mine as long as I can. Feeling great. Hopefully can do some good things here in Dubai.
Q. But from last year at this point, you had your surgery, out of the tour, didn’t play Wimbledon. Can you talk about coming back mentally and how long it took.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I honestly don’t know why it took kind of so long for me to find back the form, the shape, if we can say like this. It could be different reasons, and I don’t know which one was the key one or it was all together.
I was always working very hard with my team to try to be at my best. That’s how I am. I always want to be at my best and always want to win. For some time it was not working, and that’s why deservedly so I dropped out of top 10. That was not an easy moment because I want to be as high as possible.
I managed to get it back right now, also I don’t know how, just by working hard. I try to keep it and hopefully can be a good year.
Q. On the balls, it feels like as journalists we’re hanging around tournaments a lot more because the matches are longer, conditions are slower. Is it the same for players, not just on the court, but off the court? Today we had a 90-minute first set.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I do think the balls have a thing to say in these long matches because it’s actually fine. In Australia I could feel them the same. They were going really big. When I say last two games before they change the balls, they’re just, I don’t know, like apples. They are so, so big. You’re kind of playing kind of like paddle. You hit the ball. Whoever hits it with angle… You don’t feel like you’re controlling the game any more.
In Doha and here, I felt like every time passing the two, three games in new balls, then again becomes slower. It was 6-4, 6-2, it was 1 hour 40. That’s almost a nonsense, to be honest.
The serve doesn’t count as much. During the point, yeah, it’s a long point. I do think that the balls have a say. At the same time, if every supporter wants to see long matches – I’m not sure – then it’s good, the balls are good (smiling).
Q. You’ve been on quite the streak now. I don’t have the experience, but I assume you get tired when you play as many matches as you have in the past few weeks. How easy is it to forget about the tiredness if you’re winning or…
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I was much more tired in Doha, to be honest, because it’s a six-hour flight from Rotterdam. I came in at night and had to play in a day, so I had just one day of practice in completely different conditions: outdoor, indoor, so completely different court. For the body it’s not easy.
Doha-Dubai, much easier. A short flight. You kind of continue the same tournament. It’s not out of five sets. So far feeling good. I know the body doesn’t like playing so much tournaments in a row. I try to keep it in shape, try to keep my mind in shape. Just, yeah, hoping I will be as fresh as I am right now.
Q. You are very creative in your celebration. Off the court, do you also think you are a creative person in real life?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It’s very tough for me to answer questions about myself because you always want others to say this about you.
I think I can be creative if I want to. So that’s my answer, yeah. That’s kind of nothing because if I don’t want to, I’m not creative. I’m not creative all the time, but I can be (smiling).
Q. Last year you had good results, maybe not to your standards. Now it seems like you’re hitting the ball right on. What is the missing piece of the puzzle for you? Is it the mentality or the repetition?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It’s tough to say. I mean, the most important is winning in tennis. I feel like last year I had a lot of tournaments, a lot of matches where it was not bad, but I was missing. I was losing some tiebreaks in important moments.
I remember a match in Cincinnati against Tsitsipas, I felt like I could do much, much better in this match and be in the final of a Masters and maybe could help the better ends of the season.
This happened in Rotterdam. I managed to win these close matches, to play good on break points, to save my break points. That’s important. That’s what brings you confidence.
In Doha I saved a few set points against Felix, all these small details. That was kind of the missing part – winning – because I was still playing good.
Q. Talking about the dynamic between yourself on the court and your player box, what do you look for in your player box? Does it depend on moments?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I can only talk for myself. For me, depends definitely the moment I’m in. I feel like my box kind of feels me very well. There are some moments when I’m on a roll a little bit, especially during the tournament, where I kind of don’t need much from them. Just need to feel that they are there for me. They know it. They just stay there. They also do the same. They’ kind of let me know they are there.
Some matches you want little bit more energy when you feel like something is not going well. So you ask your box what is going on. Maybe they answer. Maybe they just say, Continue.
Yeah, it definitely depends the moment. Sometimes, like everything in tennis, you actually don’t know what you want from them because maybe sometimes you are not feeling good on the court and you don’t really see how you can feel better, so you don’t know what to do.
Q. Can we ask about your next opponent, Bublik?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Bublik, we know each other since we were probably eight years old, nine years old. Great player. We had some tough matches. Can be tricky, dropshots, tweeners. I like watching him play.
I like that he doesn’t care – at least that’s what I feel like – what people say against him. I remember when he played in the final with the frame. I wouldn’t do it. It doesn’t mean that you have to insult him. I went on comments, people were going crazy, How can you do this in the final? He’s in the final, he can do whatever he wants. That’s his choice. No one can argue with this. That’s what I really like about him.
I feel like he’s very – how you call it – special, but there’s another word.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, he’s very unique. He sticks to it. That’s what I like. That’s what I respect. I’m looking for a tough match.
Q. The audience plays an important role. How would you describe the Dubai audience this year?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It was great for my match. I would say it was almost full. I didn’t look around too much because you try to focus on the match.
I felt like it was great energy. They were supporting both me and my opponent when we played good points. I liked it.
Yeah, last time I played here was, like, four years ago. That’s a long time. You tend to forget things. That was a great atmosphere for the first match. I’m going to see how it goes later.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
129356-1-1004 2023-02-28 15:41:00 GMT