Daniil Medvedev - Roland Garros 2022

Daniil Medvedev reflects on ‘unbelievable’ Italian Open success

Daniil Medvedev has won his first clay court title at the Masters 1000 event in Rome, and revealed that he gave himself a ‘2%’ chance coming into the tournament.

Medvedev had never won a match at the Italian Open on his three previous attempts, with the Russian claiming that he ‘hated’ playing on clay in past years.

However, the 27-year-old won six consecutive matches, including victories over former champion Alexander Zverev and 2021 Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev went onto beat Holger Rune in the final, 7-5 7-5, and spoke about how he felt about his chances were coming into the event, “Normally it would be zero, but I was feeling so good that if you asked maybe it would have been 2%.”

While Medvedev claims he is ‘feeling great’, his first triumph on the dirt does not appear to have given him higher expectations heading into the second major of the year.

“I’m feeling great. It’s the best week on clay in my life. It’s always great to come into a Grand Slam with a lot of confidence,” said Medvedev.

“But you always have strong opponents there, it’s out of five sets. Need to be 100%. That’s what I’m gonna try to do. I still have not that big expectations in a way, but I know that I can do better than I thought so, so that’s good.”

In-fact Medvedev seemed so shocked by this success that he claimed it could be his No.1 achievement alongside his only Grand Slam triumph to date.

“In a way, [this is my] No. 1 [success], just because it’s the first one on clay and it’s unbelievable. I would never have thought I would be able to make this,” claimed Medvedev.

The 2021 US Open champion continued, “Then I have to be honest, a Grand Slam is always bigger. US Open is always No. 1 there. This one is special because I didn’t think it was going to be able to happen, [that I was] going to be able to make it.”

“I still kind of don’t believe…Not that I won it, but I played so well this week. I don’t believe it. The way I played, I’m really happy. Happy to have this trophy back home in some time.”

With this victory, Medvedev extends his place at the top of the race to the ATP Finals and leapfrogs Novak Djokovic to No.2 in the world rankings.

This means that Medvedev will be the top seed in the bottom half of the draw at Roland Garros, and that Djokovic could now be in the same half as either No.1 Carlos Alcaraz or Medvedev.

Medvedev seemed pleased by this news, “If I would be No. 3, I would definitely play one of Alcaraz or Novak if I am in the semi-finals. You definitely have one of them in your draw.”

He added, “I guess it’s better to be No. 2 and get the chance. Carlos and I [will not] play for sure before the final, and Novak maybe 50% chance he’s not in your draw. At the same time, I haven’t been further than the quarters in Roland-Garros.”

Daniil Medvedev at Roland Garros

Despite the discussion in recent years mainly being around Medvedev’s struggle on clay, he has actually got to a later round at Roland Garros than Wimbledon.

Here is Medvedev’s full history at the Paris major:

Win-loss record: 7-6 (54%)

2017: Lost in the first round to Benjamin Bonzi (wildcard), 7-5 4-6 1-6 1-3 (retired)

2018: Lost in the first round to Lucas Pouille (15), 2-6 3-6 4-6

2019: Lost in the first round to Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 6-4 6-4 3-6 2-6 5-7

2020: Lost in the first round to Marton Fucsovics, 4-6 6(3)-7 6-2 1-6

2021: Lost in the quarter-final to Stefanos Tsitsipas (5), 3-6 6(3)-7 5-7

2022: Lost in the fourth round to Marin Cilic (20), 2-6 3-6 2-6

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.