Daniil Medvedev: «I hope I can play my next match at the same level as today”
– How tough was your today’s match? You called a doctor on court …
– I felt a little bit sick even before the Davis Cup tie and my wedding… Maybe I ate something because I felt really bad on my wedding. So I am pretty surprised I managed to play three matches because I am feeling bad I suppose it is just my mental strength. Though now it is getting better. But during this match I felt terrible. I am glad I didn’t show all that problems to my opponent and I am happy I showed high-quality level tennis and beat him.
– Today you played well on all the break points. How did you handle that?
– Well, that’s the way it was. Because all tennis players try to play every ball, as every ball is a point. And it is a chance to win the game. When the score was 5/4 40:15 in his favor in the first set I kept my concentration on every point and I won. That was how it worked. Sometimes it so happens that one player – it was Joao Sousa – has lots of breakpoints and he doesn’t convert them. And I served well in these moments and he, on the contrary, made lots of unforced errors on breakpoints. This is tennis, the confidence and energy are very important. I felt I had more energy than him.
– You played against him in Portugal on clay. And that match wasn’t an easy one. Could you please compare them?
– He was a bit better in that match. But the game was even. I was serving for the set but he played better than me on key points. He was lucky. And all that together with a tough score … It felt I will lose most likely. But today everything was on my side. That’s the difference. Plus the surfaces are different. I won on clay this year if I am not mistaken just one match, the first one.
– Could we say this time around the home crowd helped him and today you played at home?
– Sure, 100 %. Today spectators supported me well, it gave me power. It’s good.– You’ve said you played three matches in several days. Could you please compare the surface at the recent Moscow’s Davis Cup tie and here in St. Petersburg? And maybe it even differs from the surface of St. Petersburg Open in previous years?
– I don’t think it is different from the previous years. The thing is when you play thirty tournaments a year, you forget what kind of surface it was. Therefore, as far as I remember, it’s not different at all. I’ve been playing here for the third year in a row. But the surface here differs from the one at the Davis Cup. At the Davis Cup the ball seems to slip away. In the end, there were only three breaks during five matches. Only Karen Khachanov could convert breaks there (laughter). And here, on the contrary, it is very easy to return a ball, the court is very slow, sticky, and the balls seem to stop. So it’s great that I had at least two days to get used to this surface. As a result, I managed to play well here.
– Who would you prefer to play in the next round – Denis Istomin or Mikhail Kukushkin?
– To be honest, I don’t know, but I think Mikhail, probably, feels more comfortable on this court. He probably won this tournament on another surface, but I don’t know for sure. Well, I think Mikhail is more comfortable with this court anyway. And Denis is a good player, if he is in a good shape, he can easily win an ATP tournament… As far as I remember, he has 3 or 4 titles. In general, they are both great players. I know them well. I hope that in my next match I will be able to play as well as I did today – then there will be a chance to win.
– Since you started talking about the wedding, could you tell us why you decided to hold a wedding in the middle of the season, and not at the end?
– It wasn’t a wedding, but a registration of marriage, and then there was a dinner. We didn’t have a wedding party yet and we even don’t when it’s gonna be. But definitely not at the end of the season, this year we won’t be able to make it. In fact, it’s difficult to plan a wedding with our tennis life. I proposed before the tournaments in America, and as a result I played the best series in my career there, so, apparently, I’m doing the right thing.
– How difficult was it for you to win in the Davis Cup? Was it difficult for you physically and mentally? Or when you win, you forget about all the difficulties you had to overcome?
– Frankly speaking, it was very difficult. As I already mentioned, I didn’t feel very well. I didn’t practice after the tournaments in America, but I knew that I could still play well and that I must help the team. It didn’t work out for me in the first rubber. I think my opponent in the first singles rubber – Ilya Ivashka – played some kind of unreal tennis. Maybe I’m wrong, but I couldn’t do anything with his game, even if I had been in a better shape. For sure I am very happy that, despite all the problems, I managed to win the decider (against Egor Gerasimov), which was also very difficult. Throughout the whole match I managed to convert only one break, and that allowed me to win. Now I have only positive emotions, and, I hope this win will help me to improve my personal career as well, because it a really tough to play a Davis Cup decider.
– Obviously the captain was the one who made this decision, but did have doubts after the first defeat? Were you ready to play the decider in Davis Cup?
– Actually I thought I wasn’t ready, and even told so. But I woke up the following day and realized that I can do it. In the end, I won, so everything turned out well.
– To follow up on the topic of Davis Cup: Russia got into the World Group and our team will play in qualifications there. What do you think about the new Davis Cup format?
– We knew about this before the tie (against the national team of Belarus) that if we lose, we will have to play against Slovakia on clay at the same time as the tournament in Vienna, where, obviously, everyone wants to play. That’s why no one wanted to lose. We knew that if we outplay the Belorussian team, we will get into the World Group – into qualifications. As to the new format, honestly, I do not know. Many people are against it. I guess I’m in favor of the new format. I think it will be interesting, it will take less time and there will be more prize money. The only thing that everyone is talking about is that with this format the atmosphere of the home crowd will be lost. But maybe we will play one tie under the home&away format in qualifications. As I said before, I support all these innovations.