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December 31, 2021

Gilles Cervara

Daniil Medvedev

Roman Safiullin

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team Russia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the defending champions, Team Russia. A bit of a shakeup before the tournament this year, unfortunately. Gilles has come in as the captain, so I would like to hear from him about the last few days. Not the usual preparation for your title defense, unfortunately.

GILLES CERVARA: Yeah, that's true that the last few days was very special, because until two days ago, we didn't know exactly who would be the captain of the team. So, yeah, they propose me to be this person, so it's a great honor and experience for me to be the captain of the team.

Q. Daniil, obviously last year you guys had a great tournament here, even though it's a different team. How excited are you to try to win the title again?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I mean, we want to do our best. Two guys, hopefully, because they will do our test, are coming in in the team also, so we still gonna have a little bit of the depth still in the squad.

You know, it's never easy to start the season, so most important, I mean, it's out of three matches only one team comes out of the group, so you need to win as many matches as possible. Put yourself less questions as possible, just try to win matches.

That's what we're going to try to do.

Q. I know you know Roman for a very long time at this point. What are some of your early memories of being with him?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Memories about Roman, I first thought he was super tough to beat in juniors. I don't think we ever played in professionals. But when I knew that Roman is in my drew in juniors, I was shaking, I was shaking. We played actually a lot of finals, semifinals, a lot of matches, some were like three-hour, three-set matches. A lot of fun.

I think Roman loves Australia. He won Australian Open here in juniors. So definitely big chance for him to show how great he can play.

Q. Roman, what are some of your memories...

ROMAN SAFIULLIN: Actually the same. Always against Daniil he was playing different style than he plays now, he tried to play more like inside, aggressive. It was tough for me, but still it was every of our match was really good, good stuff.

And now it's a bit opposite, of course. But still good memories we had.

Q. How excited are you for the opportunity playing...

ROMAN SAFIULLIN: Actually like this, I'm so sorry for the guys, our team, from five guys, three guys get positive on the day of travel. So it could happen any time, but not like in this time. Also, for the guys who's on other teams it's also a pity that the guys get positive here. But nobody sure from this.

I'm happy to play, that I can play for my team, and I will do my best.

Q. Daniil, you don't play too much doubles during the year, but have you been practicing a little bit in case you have to?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, we did, we practiced two times with Roman these days. We actually played quite good, you know, trying to talk our way. Of course it's never easy. I think what is good that we are going to have three opportunities. We don't know of course who is going to play yet, but if we are gonna try to make something like a teamwork, probably is gonna be same guys playing all three matches, and it's good time, you know, to get together, to try to feel each other. For example, today was much better than yesterday, what we did with Roman.

We gonna see how it's gonna be in the first match.

Q. Gilles, how is your Russian?

GILLES CERVARA: Well, I expect from them to teach me some Russian during the tournament, because I know only two bad words. So I won't say them right now (smiling).

Q. And was it Daniil who taught you those two bad words?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: No (smiling).

GILLES CERVARA: We say no, that's true, that's true. I taught him the French bad words. (Laughter.)

Q. Daniil, obviously the team has been affected by the positive tests and all that, so when you go into this year's ATP Cup as the defending champions, do you still go in with a big element of confidence, or is it just a matter of you're just gonna have to take it one tie at a time, because things are a bit uncertain?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: First of all, the difference is that comparing to last year, it was three teams in the group. So in a way, I think last year, if you lose a match, you were almost out of the group. This year it's not the case. You have a lot of opportunities, you know, to get out of the group.

Talking about myself, I feel a lot of confidence coming into this year, so gonna play definitely really strong guys already in the group. Just want to try to win my match, bring the point to the team.

Talking about the team, as I said, Roman is going to be the underdog in probably all the matches, and that's good. He has great potential, great skills in terms of tennis. And that's, you know, ATP Cup is a good chance for guys like this to win a lot of points, a lot of money, a lot of confidence coming into Australian Open quallies, and just become a better player.

So, you know, I'm confident in Roman, in the team who is coming this next days, and we're gonna just try to do our best and who knows, maybe to win the title.

Q. Daniil, you are defending champions of ATP Cup and won Davis Cup too. How much confidence do those wins give you before this ATP Cup tournament?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, again, I mean, I'm feeling a lot like last year was amazing for Russian tennis in general, with Olympic Games also where I didn't do anything, but guys were unbelievable there. A lot of success. Girls won the Billie Jean Cup, was also unbelievable, we had a lot of good results from everybody.

And I think that's what can, again, help us a lot this week because everybody is expecting us to do well. I mean, usually, you know, I like this kind of pressure. It makes you play better.

I think it's gonna make all of us four guys just play the best tennis that we can. Like this, we have a lot of chances to win a lot of matches.

Q. Roman, last year or this year's ATP Cup, Karatsev was the find of the week, and then he went on to reach the semis of the Australian Open and his ranking really rocketed. How do you feel about your situation? Do you think there's pressure to reproduce something like that for yourself?

ROMAN SAFIULLIN: No, actually there is no pressure, like Aslan did the best of his result. He was coming like step by step there, especially like if you take the results in the end of the 2020, he played unbelievable good. So it should be coming, and it's getting even better.

So for myself I'm not expecting anything. I just will do my best what I can do here and Australian Open quallies.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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