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January 18, 2022

Daniil Medvedev

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

D. MEDVEDEV/H. Laaksonen

6-1, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Talk us through the match. You got a pretty great win today, and especially in the third set, it was tense but you managed to conquer it.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, it was not that easy match. Actually started with a break for him and then I managed to win the set 6-1. He was doing a lot of errors.

Second set was getting tougher, but I managed to win one break on the side which was a little bit with the wind so easier to play.

Third set he played really top level. I'm happy that I managed, you know, to stay calm on my serve. Didn't face a breakpoint in the third set. Also didn't have one to break him but, yeah, that's when you get to the tiebreak.

I'm happy that in the tiebreak I managed to turn it my way. First rounds, actually any rounds in Grand Slam, never easy, and to win in three sets no matter the score is always good.


Q. Coming here as a major winner and being a finalist last year, when you've actually now played a first match, is it any sort of different feeling, different approach?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Definitely not different approach, because I kind of, I always try to look for how can I become either better or, let's say, keep the level, but in my opinion you cannot really keep the level, you can only try to improve and that's how you can keep the high level going.

So I know what I have to do before the match, after the match, one day before the match, to feel good. That's what I'm trying to reproduce.

To be honest, doesn't really put pressure on me, because I know that I lose first round or I win the tournament if I did everything I can, if I did everything I can again in the preparation and recovery phase, if I was not stupid, well, then, it's not meant to be or it is. But it does give me extra confidence because now I know that it is possible to do it.

Yeah, and I know that if I'm playing good tennis it's really tough to beat me so, yeah, just extra confidence.

Q. You mentioned on court that you had a really short offseason. Obviously the length of the tennis season has been a talking point kind of forever. I'm just wondering, as a player, how much time would you like to see, how much do you think would be fair, and how do you think the tour could maybe be restructured to help you?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, actually we always talk between players about these important things, and I think at this moment it's almost impossible to change anything, because there are no free weeks in the season to, let's say, put Davis Cup, for example in, to maybe move Torino, the Finals, a little bit earlier. You cannot really do it because all the tournaments bought licenses so you cannot just tell them, You know what, we decided to make the season shorter so you're out.

It's impossible, and yes, it's definitely not enough. If you want to represent your country every year in Davis Cup and if you are every year in the finals, well, it becomes impossible. So you'll have to sacrifice something. Sometimes your body will tell you what you have to sacrifice, sometimes you will have to decide. And it's not easy decisions because many people will be against your decisions.

Yeah, I mean, 14 days is not enough but it's an experience. I will see how I cope up with it and what we need or can change for the future. But again, I don't see anything changing in the season. Yeah, it's definitely probably there is no other sport that plays for 11 months nonstop.

Q. The conditions, are they the same as last year, court speed, balls? Do you notice any difference at all?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: It's always not easy to answer these questions, because you play so many tournaments that you kind of forget exactly how it was. I have the feeling that maybe it's just a little bit faster, though I'm not sure.

And the balls feel a little bit less control. Like I can see a lot of matches, maybe it's gonna change throughout the tournament because many people will get used to it. But I can see a lot of matches when there are really a lot of unforced errors, and that's how I felt today. You know, some moments, especially with new balls, I kind of, it kind of didn't sit on the string well, like I couldn't feel exactly what I was doing. Many times, for example, I wanted to touch his backhand, the ball was going in the middle, not the best.

So I think, yeah, the balls feel a little bit different and the court feels just a little bit faster. But usually, as I say, you need one, two matches and you get used to it, and next year maybe you're gonna feel the same again.

Q. We've got another match tonight that I'm sure you'll be watching once you finish this, but can you talk about the prospect of playing Nick Kyrgios in front of Australian fans? Obviously he likes to whip the crowd up and they get on his side and he's a pretty dangerous player to meet in the second round as a nonseeded player. Can you give us a bit of intel?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, first of all, going to be interesting to see the match because it's not easy when you don't play a lot of tennis, and Nick didn't for a long time. It's somebody who can always play good. We saw it last year here, he almost knocked out Dominic, beat Ugo Humbert in a crazy match where I think he saved a match point when Ugo was serving for the match.

So I'm interesting to see what is his level, is he going to be able to win or not, because, you know, the less he plays the less favorite he becomes in such kind of matches.

Yeah, if I'm gonna have to play him, it's definitely going to be not easy against the crowd. He's going to try to pump himself up, like, he likes to play big names.

But again, for example, I answered to Craig, I will do my preparation, I will try to play good. If I'm going to be playing good it's not going to be easy for him and probably we're gonna have a good match.

Q. You have played him twice at tour level, two losses but the last one was two-and-a-half years ago. Can you talk about how much you have changed over those two-and-a-half years, how much of a different prospect you are?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I just became a different player in terms of ranking and titles. It gives you experience. That's where you can try to win matches which you have lost before, opponents which you have lost before.

I think there are still some guys on tour who I haven't beat. So can stay like this. Like, I think our last match was so long ago and we are both so different and a different momentum of our careers that it's really tough to count it. As I say, win or lose, I don't think these two matches gonna count into this one, so yeah.

Q. It's the third time you were playing Henri today. What was your impression of his game today?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I mean, as I said, you know, first two sets I think he was missing quite a lot, so I kind of felt in control of the match. Third set I felt like he closed his eyes and just started hitting the full power, the ball, I mean, some shots were exceptional.

Yeah, just, you know, tried to stay in the match and was always trying to think, Okay, which shot can I give him so he's in trouble? I think in tiebreak the pressure mounted on him a little bit where he missed a little few more shots than he did in the set itself, and that was the key.

Q. A tweet you put up in November saying, See you in January, and a picture of you at the Australian Open. Wondering what the timing of that decision was, was that a vaccination thing in November or what made you know in November you were suddenly going to play in Australia? Because it was a little bit of an unusual tweet.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, not at all. It was just because, if I'm not mistaken, they tweeted something about me. Was a nice photo so I retweeted their tweet of Australian Open, and saying, See you guys in January. It was actually funny, because it got a lot of attention, as you say, about vaccination and everything. I was like, yeah, well, we'll see each other in January. That's it. Nothing more.

Yeah, it stays the same. It was just a funny way to interact with people, I would call it like this.

Q. I remember when Bjorn Borg tweeted to Wimbledon, I'll see you in June.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I don't remember this (smiling).

Q. I wanted to ask you about a certain guy who's no longer in the field, the only guy who was able to beat you there last year in the final, and how does that, if at all, change your mindset, knowing that this guy who has been close to unbeatable at that tournament is no longer in the field?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I mean, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena is definitely probably maybe his favorite place in the world, because, yeah, the amount of matches, the amount of finals, semifinals he won here is sensational. You know, I remember last year where I was like, Well, okay, that's a good challenge, trying to stop him. Was far, far away from doing that.

So, yeah, actually I like challenges, so I would love, you know, to have this chance again to play him maybe in the final or something like this here in Rod Laver, even if he beat me or not, it's a good challenge and I like challenges in my career.

But, yeah, as I said, it cannot change my approach, because it's still seven tough matches to win. If we talk about US Open where I managed to beat him in the final, it was the same. You know, I had six tough matches against tough opponents to get in the final. Then I had Novak himself to beat. He was going for something special. I managed to prepare the match well. Played quite good tennis. Served big. Managed to win the match.

And same, you know, no matter how I do here, how far I go, if I'm in the final, who I play, it's not gonna be easy and you need to show your best to win a slam.

Q. What do you think is the biggest aspect of your confidence right now after having won the US Open?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: I think, to be honest, that's the biggest aspect, like, you know, we play so many matches in the year. We win some; we lose some. Your form, your shape can go up and down, physical, mental, tennis-wise, it can fluctuate even during one tournament, especially a Grand Slam, which is two weeks.

But to know that with this US Open title, so before I was in the final, so I kind of knew, okay, to be in the final, it is possible. You need to do this, you need to just, you know, play good for five, six matches, and you will be in the final.

After US Open, I kind of know that I'm capable of playing seven great matches in a row on the same court or same venue, beating the best players in the world, you know, serving good. Sometimes maybe playing worse but still capable to win matches, and that's the biggest confidence I can give myself is just knowing that it's possible.

As we see, it's impossible to win every tournament you play in the year or every tournament you play in your life, but the more you win, the more confidence you give yourself to know for the next one that I'm capable of doing it.

Yeah, that's the biggest confidence I have right now.

Q. You have obviously been with Gilles for a while now. I'm wondering how, over the years, your relationship has changed and you've evolved or grown up in that time.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I think definitely with Gilles we were a long time together. I would even forget, I think it's, oh, four years that we are together like full-time, almost every tournament. Probably, I don't know, 330 days a year. Definitely me as a player and him as a coach, we all grew up. I think we both understood a lot of things both about ourselves and me about him and him about me.

We always try to improve. We can always still, sometimes we understand each other without talking; sometimes we can argue. It's a process. It's a process. We both I think see in each other that we want to improve and that's the most important, and that's when the process can go on.

Q. You're considered one of the kind of the characters on the tour, you're kind of yourself on the court, you can taunt the crowd, you do all these things. Nick Kyrgios is someone who is quite divisive, goes to extremes sometimes and all that. Do you enjoy some of the stuff he does whether on the court, off it? What kind of value do you see in Nick being on tour?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV: Yeah, I mean, he's definitely a character. You know, I think probably like almost everybody in the world, there are some things I adore in what he does and some things I don't like. I'm not gonna tell what exactly, but as you say, you know, he's kind of going to extreme almost all the time he's on court. That's why people love to watch him. Even if they hate him, they love to watch him, and that's his strengths.

Yeah, so as I say, not talking about my attitude to him, I think he's a great guy out of the court. On court, some things I like, some things I don't. But, yeah, I can say this probably about many players on tour (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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