2020 is not any completely different. But maybe this season, Daniil Medvedev can present the optimistic response many have lengthy been ready for.
The Russian enters the Australian Open as a top-four seed for the first time in his profession and make no mistake, he is able to profitable this event.
No participant received extra matches (50) than the 23-year-old Russian in 2019 and he boasted the most hard-court wins (37).
A very hanging sequence noticed him attain six finals on the spin, together with a run to his first Grand Slam ultimate at the US Open.
He was crushed in a five-set thriller by Nadal to finish a outstanding event – each with regards to his performances and his interactions with the New York crowd – whereas he received two Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai.
But will he make the breakthrough at Melbourne Park?
Here Metro.co.uk will study Medvedev’s recreation in our tactical sequence The Approach, with British coach Calvin Betton guiding us by way of what makes the world No. Four tick.
Why Daniil Medvedev is one in every of the Australian Open favourites
‘Medvedev rarely hits unforced errors,’ Betton tells Metro.co.uk. ‘You’re going to have to hit winners previous him for those who’re going to beat him over 5 units. In order to hit winners, most gamers want to be taking actual property additional up the courtroom, getting inside the baseline.
‘The problem with trying that against Medvedev is he keeps such a good length constantly. His depth of shot means his opponent is constantly hitting the ball six feet behind the baseline and he’s placing stress on relentlessly.
‘It’s like preventing a boxer who has obtained an incredible jab, they’re at all times preserving you at distance, you’re by no means ready to get shut to them to land any blows.
‘He has a psychological effect from that perspective as well. It’s mundane, it’s disheartening for his opponents who’re continuously feeling beneath stress as a result of they’re up to now behind the baseline.
‘The other issue is there aren’t many gamers like him on tour. He’s 6’6”, he’s obtained an enormous serve and he strikes effectively. He’s not an attacking participant, he’s not a defensive participant and he’s not a counter-attacking participant, he’s virtually non-classifiable as a tennis participant. There’s by no means been one other participant who’s that tall and who bases their recreation round outlasting the opponent, slightly than knockout blows.
‘He has a system, unless you have a code to break it, he will beat you.’
The weaknesses in Daniil Medvedev’s recreation
‘The great thing about his biggest strength – his ability to hit deep consistently – means he’s obtained a plan, he is aware of what he’s doing however the flip facet of that’s that he doesn’t have an excessive amount of selection,’ says Betton. ‘He hits a lot of balls into the centre, he’s not going to the sidelines too usually.
‘He’s going to wait it out till his opponent breaks down. But there’s not likely a Plan B in him so when he’s beneath stress and dropping, it will probably work towards him.
‘A technical issue he has is that he’s tall, he’s rangy, his strokes are very a lot exterior to in so when he wants to assault down the line, what you’ll discover is he struggles to go immediately up the line, what tends to occur is that his pictures taper in. This was evident towards the US Open ultimate towards Nadal.
Daniil Medvedev reality file
Current rating: 4
Highest rating: 4
Best Slam efficiency: Final (US Open, 2019)
Best Australian Open efficiency: Round 4 (2019, misplaced to Djokovic)
‘If you can get him dragged out into wide areas, you’ve obtained him in a spot he doesn’t need to be. He needs to do most of his work in the centre. That mentioned, not many gamers like to be in these areas and it’s powerful to get him there.
‘The most attention-grabbing space technically and tactically the place folks have had success towards him – together with Tsitsipas at the O2 final yr – is once they can deliver him inside the courtroom with low, sliced balls.
‘That leaves him with an option to either come to the net with a ball he doesn’t actually like or transfer himself again, which he doesn’t need to do as a result of then he’s on the backfoot and it permits his opponent to return behind him. He likes to keep in his consolation zone, which is basically behind the baseline and solely shifting into the courtroom when he has putaway balls.’
The gamers who will trigger Medvedev issues at the Australian Open
‘There are three groups of player that he’ll wrestle with,’ Betton provides.
‘The first type of player – and there aren’t many of those round – are the guys who do have the functionality to clear winners off from effectively behind the baseline. You’re principally down to a totally match Juan Martin del Potro, perhaps it’s a bit too early for Jannik Sinner however I believe you’ll undoubtedly see that in years to come and then Stan Wawrinka does have the functionality, though he generally is a bit sporadic with that. Those guys have the pure energy to blow Medvedev away from the areas he likes to be in.
‘Second type of player are guys like Tsitsipas, even a player like Dan Evans – although you wouldn’t make him favorite – who can draw Medvedev into areas he doesn’t need to be with a low slice.
‘Then we’re down to the “Big Three”. Federer has the functionality to do what the likes of Tsitsipas and Evans can do.
Medvedev report vs Federer, Nadal and Djokovic
Medvedev 2-4 Djokovic
Medvedev 0-3 Federer
Medvedev 0-3 Nadal
‘He has a pretty good record against Djokovic but he can rally all day long, he’s one in every of the most constant gamers to ever play the recreation and what Djokovic can try this Medvedev can’t is he can deliver you wider. That’s one in every of Djokovic’s most underrated talent is, he creates width, he drags his opponents out large, they’re on the run continuously, he’s sensible at discovering angles that aren’t there from deep balls.
‘He doesn’t have a fantastic report towards Nadal, he’s but to beat him. Nadal is continually going to pepper his backhand together with his forehand and then he’s able to ending him off up the line – it’s one in every of his favorite pictures. Being a lefty, he causes Medvedev a special vary of issues in that he can pin Medvedev out into the backhand nook, the place he doesn’t need to be.
‘He’s obtained the selection to combine issues up, he’s obtained a great drop-shot, he’s a fantastic volleyer and most significantly he’s obtained Medvedev’s quantity – one in every of the essential issues with Medvedev is he’s not intimidate by anyone in any respect, he thinks he can beat anyone… however I believe he’s nonetheless obtained doubts about whether or not he can beat Nadal as a result of he’s by no means executed it.’