Daniil Medvedev Ready for Title Defense at St. Petersburg Open
By Max Gao
(October 11, 2020) ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (VIRTUALLY)– After a disappointing first-round defeat at Roland Garros this year, World No. 6 and top seed Daniil Medvedev spoke with the media at the St. Petersburg Open ahead of his riveting first-round clash with French veteran Richard Gasquet.
Home Favorite Medvedev Draws Tricky Opener Against Gasquet
After participating in the official draw ceremony, Medvedev spoke with reporters in a virtual press conference where he felt that “the lineup is very strong,” particularly given St. Petersburg’s promotion to an ATP 500 event this year.
“I got a difficult draw, but sometimes it’s better to start a tournament with tough opponents. I will have to show my best game at the tournament from the get go,” explained the top seed, who will face Richard Gasquet in the first round. “In any case, I always have a philosophical attitude towards the draw – I can’t change its results, so I am just preparing for my next opponent. I hope to show a good tennis.”
As the defending champion, Medvedev added that he naturally felt some pressure, but he had confidence in his game after making the sudden transition from clay to indoor hard courts. After spending some time at home following his early exit in Paris, the Russian arrived in St. Petersburg on Friday, where he was immediately tested and cleared to practice on-site on Saturday.
“I will try to train as much as possible to prepare for the tournament. I want to say that clay is not my favorite surface, so it takes me much more time and much more effort to adapt to clay [than to adapt to the hard courts],” he explained. “I didn’t have enough time to prepare for the clay after the U.S. Open this year. It seems to me that two or three days are enough to be ready to play the tournament when you are switching from clay to hard, so I feel that I am ready.”
Despite St. Petersburg’s upgraded status this year, the tournament has recently been hit with a series of withdrawals, with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Kei Nishikori all withdrawing in recent days. While tournament director Alexander Medvedev said that the organizers did everything they could logistically to get the players from Paris to St. Petersburg, the World No. 6 understood the reluctance of players that chose not to make the trip this year.
“Of course, there have been several withdrawals, but this is quite understandable, because this tournament is played indoors on hard, and comes immediately after the clay major, and this is always difficult to switch from one surface to another,” Medvedev said. “I believe that the stronger the tournament is, the better. Any player from the top 10, top 20, who withdrew, it is a loss for the tournament anyway, but I will not single out [or worry about] any of these withdrawals.”
Medvedev Commends Bubbles in New York and St. Petersburg
Having played in almost every tournament since the resumption of the 2020 season, Medvedev felt that the bubbles in New York and St. Petersburg have both been the most effective, joking that “the food here at the Four Seasons is definitely much better than at the U.S. Open.”
“Actually it’s very similar,” he noted. “The only thing is that all the Slams have even more security guards: every step you make you security guard, and you can’t take an extra step without them. Here, too, everything is very serious: you come to the hotel, immediately take the test, go to your room; you cannot go anywhere before the result would arrive. They are good “bubbles” both there and there. I think that all tennis players feel safe and everyone is doing great.”
In adherence to all the safety protocols that must be followed at professional tournaments this fall, there will be a limited number of fans inside the venue throughout the week, with all patrons encouraged to wear a mask and physically distance themselves from others.
“I hope that all players will show good tennis,” Medvedev said. “I hope that there will be some thrilling matches and fans will watch them. Now it is easier to fill the stadium because not everyone is allowed in. I hope that all the tickets will be sold out.”
Max Gao is a freelance Canadian sports and entertainment journalist that is covering this year’s St. Petersburg Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow all of his reports throughout the week here and follow him on Twitter for live updates and exclusive, behind-the-scenes content from this year’s event: @MaxJGao.
Daniil Medvedev: “Judging by the draw, the lineup is very strong. Of course, there have been several withdrawals, but this is quite understandable because this tournament is played indoors on hard and comes immediately after the clay major.” #SPBOpen #FormulaTX pic.twitter.com/rHucARM7om
— Max Gao (@MaxJGao) October 10, 2020