“I feel the best at my game on hard courts. Even if I know that I can play well enough on the grass and clay, on hard courts I feel the most fluid,” says 2023 Miami Open champion Daniil Medvedev
By Rory Carroll | Photos by by Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports (lead) and Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) – Miami Open champion Daniil Medvedev said he will try to keep his sensational start to the year going as the tour shifts to the clay court season, but said he is realistic about his prospects on a surface where he has enjoyed far less success.
The Russian called himself a “hard court specialist” at Indian Wells last month while complaining about the slow speed of the courts and it is hard to argue with his expertise.
He won his fourth hard court event of the year in Miami on Sunday with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Jannik Sinner and his lone Grand Slam title came on the US Open’s concrete courts in 2021.
“I love hard courts. If it would be my choice, it would be only hard courts,” he told reporters.
“I know that I can play well on clay,” he said. “I beat Novak (Djokovic) once on clay. I actually beat (Stefanos) Tsitsipas and Novak at the same tournament once, wow. That’s pretty good achievement on clay”
“I feel the best at my game on hard courts. Even if I know that I can play well enough on the grass and clay, on hard courts I feel the most fluid. I can play not my best tennis but still win the matches. That’s a big difference.”
The vanquished Sinner even joked that perhaps the European clay could help slow down the hard-hitting Medvedev, who claimed titles in Doha, Rotterdam, and Dubai and finished runner-up at Indian Wells before his triumph in Miami.
“Now clay season starts so let’s see how you do there, but I wish you all the best,” Sinner said with a smile during the trophy ceremony.
It has not been all bad news for Medvedev on clay. He made the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2021, the semifinal at Monte Carlo in 2019, and has beaten some of the sport’s biggest names on the surface.
“I know that I can play well on clay,” he said. “I beat Novak (Djokovic) once on clay. I actually beat (Stefanos) Tsitsipas and Novak at the same tournament once, wow. That’s pretty good achievement on clay.”
But working against him is the limited amount of time he has to prepare ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters, which begins Apr. 9.
“The earlier you lose in Miami, the more clay court practice you can get,” he told Tennis Channel. “So the first tournament is going to be tough. I’m already preparing myself mentally not to lose my mind if I play really bad in Monte Carlo.
“But maybe not? The confidence is still there. I am going to try my best and see how it goes.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles: Editing by Neil Fullick)