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Andy Roddick compares Daniil Medvedev to Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa character, says the Russian has mastered the art of "confuse and conquer"

Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Alexander Zverev at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Alexander Zverev at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
Ewan West
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Andy Roddick has praised Daniil Medvedev for his ability to confuse opponents by using a variety of tactics, saying the Russian can be "crazy, but in a very calculated way". The former World No. 1 compared Medvedev's unorthodox approach to a boxing tactic used by Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa character in the Rocky IV film.

World No. 2 Medvedev defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(6) in a Red Group round-robin tie at the 2021 ATP Finals on Tuesday. The 25-year-old now leads the head-to-head series with his German rival 6-5, having won their last five meetings.

In the final set tiebreak, Medvedev lost two points by serving and volleying behind second serves -- including at 6-5 ahead -- before converting his third match point.

During a conversation on Tennis Channel Live, Roddick admitted he thought Medvedev's tactic to net rush was a mistake at the time. The 2003 US Open champion revealed he changed his mind after seeing the stats at the end of the match, and hailed the Russian's strategic nous.

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"It's weird because he (Medvedev) obviously saw something that none of us did," Roddick said. "And I was right with Jim Courier when he was calling the match live. I'm going - 'What is this guy thinking?' Coming in and serving and volleying out of nowhere late in that third set breaker."
"And then all of a sudden the stats show up and you realize - he won 15 out of 19 net points in total throughout the match," Roddick added. "So, maybe not as crazy as we thought. But listen, this guy has kind of mastered this confuse and conquer method where he can lay back and play extremely defensively and almost beg you to be aggressive, and bait you into it."
Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Novak Djokovic to win the 2021 US Open
Daniil Medvedev celebrates after beating Novak Djokovic to win the 2021 US Open

Andy Roddick then pointed to Daniil Medvedev's performance in this year's US Open final against Novak Djokovic to highlight the Russian's ability to use an attacking tactic to great effect.

"The match against Novak [Djokovic] in the finals of the US Open - he came out and he was hitting 126 mile an hour second serves, he was taking his forehand coming out of his shoes," Roddick continued. "Drilling lines with that, staying steady with the backhand."

Roddick then compared Medvedev's unique method to a strategy deployed by Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa character in the fourth Rocky film. The American, who retired in 2012, also admitted he would not have enjoyed facing the 25-year-old Russian.

"It's like when Sly Stallone kind of reversed and started boxing the other way against Ivan Drago [in the Rocky IV film]," Roddick said. "It makes no sense, but just knowing that he actually has that ability to be kind of crazy, but in a very calculated way. It's not a matchup that I would have liked to have gone against, that's for sure."

Daniil Medvedev seals semi-final berth at ATP Finals

Nitto ATP World Tour Finals - Day Three
Nitto ATP World Tour Finals - Day Three

Daniil Medvedev, the defending champion at this year's ATP Finals in Turin, sealed a spot in the semifinals with his victory over Alexander Zverev. The Russian currently leads the Red Group with two wins from two matches.

The US Open champion will take on Jannik Sinner in his final round-robin tie on Thursday. Sinner replaced Matteo Berrettini, who was forced to withdraw from the event due to injury.


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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