Sofia Open 2019: Daniil Medvedev - The Rising Star Less Noticed
After the Australian Open 2019, one thing that is clear about the ATP tour is that the transition phase of Men's tennis is speeding up. Though both the finalists Nadal and Djokovic were senior players, younger players like Francis Tiafoe and Stefanos Tsitsipas showed the glimpse of what the future of tennis holds for us.
But the performance of these two overshadowed the impressive performance of another next-generation player, 22-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev, who has exhibited his abilities recently on the tour and one who surely has a bright future ahead.
The whole tennis world acknowledged Tsitsipas' brilliant performance against Federer in the Australian Open but Medvedev's performance in Australian was less noticed which in reality was equally impressive. The Russian reached the 4th round of the Australian Open without dropping a set.
Even though he lost the match to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 3-6. he pushed Novak to the limits in a match that lasted for 3 hours and 15 minutes. He was winning long rallies from the baseline against Novak which not too many players on the tour would be able to do. He was throwing and returning punches against the greatest returner the game has ever seen. He gave such a great fight to Novak that the Serbian couldn't move his legs on the last service game of the young Russian.
Other than Australian Open this year, Medvedev has played two tournaments, first in Brisbane and the second at the Sofia Open, and reached the final of both tournaments. He was the runner up in Brisbane where he lost to Kei Nishikori in a 3 set final after defeating Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and Tsonga in earlier rounds. He won the Sofia Open, defeating Fucsovics in the final and Robin Haase and Monfils in earlier Matches. He has an 11-2 win/loss ratio in 2019.
He obviously has a big serve thanks to his tall physique, this combined with his powerful forehand helps him dictate the game on his own terms. His backhand cross-court is very effective and most of his backhands are hit cross-court. He is also good at the net with his great volleys, but most of the times he stays at the baseline.
He also sometimes improvises with serving from the right corner of the court to generate the extra angle on his serve. But his most impressive quality is his mental toughness. His ability to up his level on the important points separate him from most other youngsters. The aspect of his game which needs the most improvement is his physical fitness. He needs to improve his physical endurance to maintain a high-level game in longer matches.
The way the 22 year old Russian is playing he is definitely a player to watch out for the future. And if he improves the physical aspect of his game there is no stopping him to become a great champion of the game.
Strength: Big Serve, Strong forehand, Mental toughness
Areas of improvements: Down the line Backhand, Physical Endurance
Prediction: Break into Top 10 in 2019