August 21, 2020
New York, New York, USA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I'm curious for you, with the way the ranking system works in this, the way they changed it, you had a lot of ranking points you had to keep if you didn't come play these tournaments, 2400 or a lot, a lot of ranking points. I'm curious, was that at all making you think of not coming or was that a factor in your decision-making? What was your whole process in deciding to come to New York?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, of course it could be something if I didn't feel safe to come or if I didn't feel good to come, it could be something that would be an easy decision not to come.
But I like to play tennis. It's long time I didn't compete. I didn't play any exhibitions. So I'm happy to be here, happy to see where my game is at, and, you know, any game I play, first I play for the win and then for ranking and money which goes with it.
That's why I'm here. I'm happy to be here.
Q. Talking about being competitive, even without being in the tour for long, do you feel your competitive energy and your competitive juices are full right now, or is it going to take some time to come back?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I definitely have the competitive energy, but it's different thing to have energy and to win a match, let's put it this way.
I think already looking at the quallies, there are -- you know, I just saw some guys that I was practicing with that could be playing amazing and already lost the quallies and other way around.
So I think it's going to be a lot of interesting results, a lot of interesting matches. Of course first few tournaments are not going to mean anything in the long term, I would say.
Q. Obviously last year at the US Open you had a lot of different interactions with the crowd, to put it mildly. I'm wondering, now that the crowd is not going to be here, because it kind of fueled you in a way last year, how do you think it will affect your play being in New York and not having a crowd? Does it require any specific mental preparation to prepare yourself to play in an empty stadium?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, of course it's going to be really sad without the New York crowd, because I think at the end what happened is that this year they would be a lot for me, I hope (smiling).
But of course we will not know this until the crowd comes back to the tournament. But that's a decision of course that had to be taken this year. I have to say that when I was a junior, when I was playing futures, even challengers sometimes, you play a lot of matches without the crowd, which is completely normal.
So I think anyway it's going to be really strange of course for us, imagine going to the semifinals of a US Open and playing without a crowd on Arthur Ashe, but still, you know what you play for. That's a tennis match you want to win, and during the match it's going to go on the second plan, I think.
Q. First time talking to you in six, seven months, so I'm curious what you have been doing all this time. What have your days been like? Guessing you were in California when Indian Wells canceled. Since then, what have you been doing?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I have been all the time in Monaco, so didn't move to any other country during all this six months.
I mean, we tried with my coach to make the best of calendar possible, because we never knew when tennis is going to come back.
When Indian Wells was canceled, everybody felt possible about, let's say, Barcelona, Madrid, and Rome going.
So actually coming back, I started practicing quite hard, and then when we knew it was going to be for really long time, that's when we just tried to keep in shape but not to overtrain, also, because you need to be fresh. Took some days off, and after was practicing again.
I should say it was a normal life with some small changes.
Q. Were you at all tempted to play in any of the exhibition events that were around? I don't think you played any.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, for a few I was just not ready mentally. Of course I was asked to play some of them. For few, I just didn't feel, as I say, I didn't feel not even the competitive energy but I felt like I was not at all ready to play any matches at this moment. Talking both physically and mentally.
So, I mean, I don't want to come and play when I'm not ready, when I'm not feeling ready, just to show up. That's not about me.
So actually, as soon as I was ready, that's when US Open got announced it going forward and the exhibitions stopped. And already everybody was preparing for US Open, so that's why I had zero exhibitions.
Q. There were reports that a bunch of the players are not happy that Guido Pella and Hugo Dellien were taken out of the Cincy draw because their physio tested positive. I'm just wondering, have you been part of these discussions? What's kind of the stance of the players?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yes, of course I'm part of all these discussions. I can only say kind of my opinion in this case.
You know, we hear a lot of opinions, but what I should agree on is that we do think that the physio of Pella and Dellien, and everybody thinks this way, should have been tested second time, which was not the case, because they say there is still a possibility that there is a false positive test, like I don't know if it's true, but if it is, then why not to do a second test. And if it's negative, to think about it.
And of course if Dellien and Pella really had zero symptoms, that's a question to ask. Because imagine there is a quarterfinal of US Open, and I doubt that New York Health Department or USTA will make the same disqualification for somebody who was in -- because they say he was in close contact, but they cannot even know this for sure, because I don't think they have cameras shown.
So if most of these players are negative, which is the case, and I think they had three negative tests after already the physio of them was positive, I think they should play. And that's what the majority of players think, I think, 99%.
Q. It's been a time of reflection for a lot of people over the past five months. What have you learned about yourself?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I need to say I haven't learned much, but in a good way I think I kind of knew myself good enough before this time.
But of course I should say it was kind of a new time, because as a tennis player starting from 14 or even 12 years old, you travel all around the world almost every week. You don't have time, you know, to stop.
So it was really fun, I should say, and real interesting, because as I say, for six months I didn't even move out of the country. So I was in Monaco and South of France all the time with my wife.
It was a great time, but also, I'm really happy to be back on tour and to lead tennis professional life. Let's call it like this.
Q. Tennis is such a mental game. With Rafa not playing and Roger not playing, is there a voice within you that says this really could be my time? This is a real opportunity?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, of course there is a, first of all, big opportunity for a new Grand Slam winner, because there is, let's say, only three Grand Slam winners in the draw of US Open, Cilic, Murray, and Novak, if I'm not mistaken, which of course gives bigger chance for everybody else.
Talking about myself, I always take it match by match, so at this moment I don't see myself lifting the US Open trophy. I just want to see first where my game is at tournament level, competitive level in Cincinnati, because as I say, we're going to almost 100% see some unbelievable results, maybe some really bad games or some really good ones.
Kind of don't know what to expect, because it's not usual that there is 150 players that didn't play a match in six months, you know. Actually, it's maybe one who got injured or something like this, so it's never easy to come back.
I'm really curious and going to do my best to win as many matches as possible.
Q. Few players in history have entered a tournament where thousands and thousands of people have been howling and jeering at them. Then you became a hero of sorts in the final. How the heck did you pull that off?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It was not easy, but the most important is I stayed myself during all this time. So even when they were not happy with me, let's call it like this, I still continued myself. I didn't try to, you know, say, Okay, sorry, guys, that was not me.
Okay, I did mistakes. I admit it. But that's me.
And then, finally by fighting, playing good tennis, maybe being funny, but again, not being another person, not trying to hide something, they were cheering me at the end, and that's really cool.
I really liked it, and it was a great roller-coaster of course with probably the best result of all of my career.
Q. With the tremendous interruption now on the tour and coming back and having a little bit of disruption with lack of top players, do you think it levels the playing field? Do you think there is the best chance for someone like yourself or one of the other guys, Stefanos or someone else, high ranked, highly or not, to make a big breakthrough?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: That was the end of the question? I don't know if we got interrupted. Sorry.
Q. Just assess the situation and how it affects everyone. Are the favorites going to be real true favorites, top seeds, or is everything off the board and we are starting fresh?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I do think that everything is off the board a little bit. Of course top seeds have the advantage still normally, because, well, rankings shows also the strengths of the players at this moment.
At this time -- you see I'm saying "at this moment," and this moment hasn't been here for six months. So I think there is going to be a lot of unbelievable results. At the same time a lot of guys are just going to keep up the level and play good and maybe also being in the later stages of the tournament, so I hope I'm going to be able to play good and to win some matches. That's it.
Q. With all the stuff going on for Novak, for instance, is it going to be an uncomfortable position for him and his position now especially for the hunt for the Grand Slam titles going on?
DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think Novak is a great champion. Of course many things can disturb him, his life, like the things that happened lately, but when he's on court, it's a different story.
I mean, he can play some unbelievable tennis, and I should say maybe even sometimes, as many of us, some things that go against him makes him stronger. Most important is going to be how good are you playing tennis, and let's see where he is right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports