His temperament makes him unfriendly to a large part of the tennis public. The Russian cares little, who won the Masters and is one of the strongest cards to bring down the Big 3.
Daniil Medvedev did not come to the tennis world with the idea of being likeable. He does not dance and does imitations like Novak Djokovic. It is not the correction model that Rafael Nadal is. And by manners he seems, rather, the exact opposite of Roger Federer, the Swiss who plays home all over the world. Because if every time he plays – or played – that magician who made history almost everyone wants him to win, with the Russian the exact opposite happens. As if to finish marking the differences of character, Daniil does not hesitate to affirm that there was a moment in his life in which he frankly hated Federer. So much so that, unlike what happens with the rest of the mortals, he swelled for his rivals in every game.
“When I was 10 I hated Roger. I could not bear to see him win over and over again. From the first round he was cheering for his rivals,” was one of Medvedev’s first confessions when the tennis world began to notice him. As if to warn that he had not come that far with the will to win popularity contests.
The return of tennis after the stoppage due to the pandemic showed him with a calm spirit and with tennis intact. Focused only on winning and, at least in appearance, on leaving behind situations like August last year at the US Open against Feliciano López. In that match, he threw the towel that a ball-boy had given him to the ground and, when the public booed him for that attitude, he showed his middle finger to one of the stands (the organization fined him $ 9,000 for that ). He was the winner but between insults, he responded with ironic gestures to the people and then upped the ante by declaring at a press conference that the hostile climate helped him to play better.
The Russian man who, as a six-year-old boy, liked wrestling much more than tennis, seems to have improved his manners a bit lately. And that the year had not started in the best way in that sense: in the series against Argentina for the ATP Cup in Australia, he provoked Diego Schwartzman first by celebrating a double fault he committed and then yelling a point in his face. The Small, hot-blooded, insulted him in the middle of the game and only calmed down when the Russian captain, Marat Safin, he offered his apologies.
But even those who least love him are beginning to be forced to recognize a talent that seems to have come to write great history in tennis.
Although not even in this London Masters in which he was consecrated undefeated champion, he completely escaped the controversy by those who questioned him having taken out from below in the match against Alexander Zverev. “I had the ball close to the racket and I saw it far from the baseline,” Medvedev – who won the point – answered on the subject, with an almost surprised gesture. Some will question a supposed lack of codes. To the, everything works for him if it helps him win.
Daniil knows that it will not be by asking permission that the dominance of the names that monopolized everything in recent years in the ATP circuit will collapse. And he has as his flag that temperament that he showed to do in the group stage to Djokovic the same thing that number 1 usually does to his opponents: leave them drowned and with the feeling that nothing they do will be able to annoy his rival. That temperament that he also showed in the semifinal for Nadal to experience what those who face him usually feel: that although they have the match almost won, like Rafa when he served 5-4 in the second set, on the other side there will be a lion who will never surrender and that at any moment it can be turned around.
Medvedev proved it again at the Masters: he won’t mind not being the tennis player with the most friends on the circuit. He will not be seen dancing on social media or handing out free smiles. His thing happens on the other hand: being that winning machine that is one of the great cards so that, after so many years, there is finally a change of era in men’s tennis.