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January 31, 2021

Evgeny Donskoy

Daniil Medvedev

Andrey Rublev

Aslan Karatsev

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Team Russia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is it being your first experience as a captain of any team with Team Russia?

EVGENY DONSKOY: Yeah, it's first experience. I'm also player, so trying to practice as well, which is sometimes maybe not that easy. I mean, with these guys, it's pretty easy to be a captain (laughter). We are good friends. It's actually nothing new in there. They just preparing like they know what to do already. They have their own coaches. I'm trying not to be involved. Just trying to organize as much as possible to be comfortable for them, for all of them. That's it.

I will try to do my best, as always.

Q. What do you think is the most enjoyable thing about preparing and then playing the ATP Cup?

ASLAN KARATSEV: To stay in the quarantine 14 days (laughter).

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Me, I played it last year. Actually, I was the only one to play it from Team Russia. I only thought about this right now. It's always cool, these team competitions, because it puts you out of the zone a little bit where you are always focusing on yourself. Even if we can have dinners or lunch together, you care only about yourself more or less because you want to be the one who wins the tournament, you want to be the one who wins matches.

Here it's not the case. You want to win it as a team. You have a team supporting you, behind you, on the bench. It's something special. We are playing for the country. It's not the usual team competitions in tennis. Actually, I think guys will feel it from the first second, especially there going to be some crowd.

Q. Andrey, last year it was an incredible start for you winning back-to-back tournaments. Now you're part of the team this year. Explain what you expect and how much are you looking forward to it?

ANDREY RUBLEV: You mean to ATP Cup?

Q. Yes.

ANDREY RUBLEV: Yeah, it's going to be my first experience here. I mean, it's amazing to be part of with such a great guys, especially when Donskoy is the captain. Yeah, I think we have a great team.

You know, you always have to be in reality and understand that all the players are playing so good. I mean, all the teams are strong. They have all the top players here. It's going to be really tough.

In my case, I don't expect nothing. I just hope we're going to do our best. In the end, what's going to happen is going to happen. For me is to give my best, to enjoy, to give everything on the court, and then we'll see what's going to happen.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I think very important is to stay in reality (laughter).

Q. How did you find the experience last year?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It was cool, as I say.

ANDREY RUBLEV: I take my words back. I don't enjoy to be on this team (laughter).

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It was really nice moving from city to city. We won't have it this year, but for a reason. We made semis. Actually lost in a tough encounter against Serbia, who won the tournament. Was a lot of fun. I'm sure it's going to be the same this year.

Of course, before the tournament it's a bit different because there are five tournaments also together with ATP Cup. For example, today I practiced with Wawrinka and not the team, which was not the case before. We practiced one week with each other.

I think from the moment it starts, tomorrow, especially Tuesday, it's going to be, as last year, a really great experience.

Q. What experience do you think you can bring to the team? Have you given them any words of wisdom?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: No, I think they all know what they have to do. That's a compliment. I mean, everybody is in great mood, ready to be there for the team. That's the most important.

Q. How much are you looking forward to playing in front of crowds and hearing that roar of the crowds? Must be great to have the thought of a crowd again in the stands.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: How much crowd there is actually? 25%?

I mean, of course it's not the full stadium, so it changes also. I have a breakpoint third set, full stadium is different than when you have 25%. But still, it's also different when there is no crowd.

I think all of us tennis players, we still want the crowd. When you win a match, you can share it with them. Even when you lose, they going to applaud you when you go off the court, which you just need to put a show for them. That's the most important.

Q. What is going to be tougher for you, sitting on the bench courtside or being on the court?

EVGENY DONSKOY: You know, I don't know how it's for everyone. I remember, like, when you playing, of course you're nervous and you feel these shaky moments. But when you're trying to support your friends, doesn't matter. If it will be the normal tournament, you come to support Daniil, Andrey, Aslan, doesn't matter. You always feel more -- like you're nervous more because you're not controlling anything. It's usual. Always when you drive in the car, when you are the one who driving, you feel everything is good. But when somebody is driving that you not trust so much, you're always like (laughter).

I mean, it's going to be very tough for me mentally, if you know what I mean. Mentally, it will be always full day of nerves for me, which is I think normal. Doesn't matter if I'm a captain or not, is just how it is. You always care about them, care about the match, how it goes. Just trying to support them as much as possible, doesn't matter if you're a captain or you came as a friend.

Q. Do you trust his driving a BMW?

EVGENY DONSKOY: We had some experience actually (laughter). It was the fastest 3.9 seconds for me from 0 to 60 miles to 100. It was pretty much fun, but with him, just to let you know how I was trusting to him, I was not even -- I don't know if I can say this because maybe I get a fine, I was not even making wearing a seat belt because I want to make a video of this thing going so fast, going 100. But here we do everything opposite, slow, waiting patient --

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Andrey should get fines for playing so fast. All the limit all the time. Fine, fine, fine (laughter).

ANDREY RUBLEV: And I'm driving so slow (laughter).

Q. How do you describe playing an individual event to playing a team event and playing for your nation?

EVGENY DONSKOY: I mean, it's always different. It's always different. For me it will be the first experience in ATP Cup, but we played some matches in Davis Cup previously in the past. It was always just completely different experience.

As a player, you have much more pressure, which is sometimes even helping you to get you out of the limits of your game. Sometimes, of course, it's not helping. So it's something that you are not experiencing very often because you play a lot of individual tournaments.

When it's the team tournament, it's completely different feelings. Again, mentally it's tougher to support your teammates and all these things. But, again, I think in team matches you can show even more than as an individual because it's kind of more things that you're fighting for.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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