“Hate Everything”: Daniil Medvedev Reveals Reason for Poor Performances on Clay Ahead of Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Published 05/03/2021, 12:30 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 21, 2021 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts during his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Current world number three Daniil Medvedev, who will be playing at the Mutua Madrid Open this year, had to withdraw from Monte-Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open as he tested positive for COVID-19.

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The Russian had reached a career-high ranking of number two after his consistent performances from the tail end of 2020 till the Australian Open this year. 

Mar 28, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Daniil Medvedev of Russia hits a backhand against Alexei Popyrin of Australia (not pictured) in the third round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Medvedev also won the title at ATP Marseille, which made him reach the second position in ATP rankings. Now, after a brief hiatus, Medvedev is all set to test his luck at the Madrid Masters.

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Daniil Medvedev explains his aversion towards clay

In the few years that he has played, the Russian had a decent run at the 2019 clay-court season, where he managed to reach the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters and the finals at the Barcelona Open. His confidence in the red dirt would have seen a rapid improvement if he had managed to clinch a clay-court title in 2019. 

Speaking at the pre-tournament press conference, Medvedev opened up on his issues with clay and why it will never be his preferred surface. 

I think my shots, my movement, and my physical appearance doesn’t suit clay because the first week I come on clay because I play on hard courts or grass courts for for eight months in a row and then I have this clay court scene for two months… First week when I come on clay, I hate everything around me,” Medvedev explained.

The Russian also mentioned how he gets used to the surface after pocketing enough matches and earning the required confidence. He said, Then I get used to it, and it starts to be better. The big thing that motivates me is that I know I am capable of winning matches.”

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For a player who likes to toil with opponents by keeping enough balls in play, it appears that Medvedev’s aversion towards clay has more to do with the mindset rather than gameplay. Also, the fact that the Russian is yet to win a first-round match at the French Open has contributed a lot towards his hatred for the surface. 

However, Medvedev quickly recalled the success he had in the 2019 clay-court season and hoped to find the confidence needed to beat the top players this season. 

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his semi final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Kelly Defina

“Two years ago, I beat some really good guys, and so I know that I am capable. Just need to find this confidence and feeling which is tougher for me to find on clay than on hard courts,” the Russian concluded. 

The quality of play on clay courts has been increasing every year, with new clay courters looking to dominate the surface. Medvedev will look to put his big-match experience to good use on clay this year. But he has to survive back-to-back matches to stand a chance of winning titles on clay. 

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Sagar Ashtakoula

334 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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