Ahead of his third-round match against Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Indian Wells Masters, Filip Krajinovic lavished rich praise on the Russian. Krajinovic called Medvedev the "best player in the world", but expressed excitement about playing against him.
Medvedev and Krajinovic will lock horns on Tuesday in a repeat of the 2019 Indian Wells third round, where Krajinovic had won 6-3, 6-2. Incidentally, Medvedev had defeated Mackenzie McDonald in the previous round on that occasion too, much as he has done this year.
In 2021, however, Daniil Medvedev is widely considered the best hardcourter on tour alongside Novak Djokovic. The Russian has also entered Indian Wells this time as a Grand Slam champion, having recently won the US Open.
Krajinovic pointed to that fact during his press conference after beating Marcos Giron. The Serb labeled Medvedev the best player on tour, but in the same breath asserted that he has nothing to lose against the Russian.
"He (Daniil Medvedev) won the US Open, he is the best player in the world. I am very excited to play against him," Krajinovic said. "I have played against him a couple of times already, I know how he plays. For sure he is the favourite for that match, but I have nothing to lose, I will try to enjoy it."
Filip Krajinovic acknowledged that Daniil Medvedev has improved by leaps and bounds since they met in 2019. He believes the Russian has "no weaknesses" in his game, but he declared during his presser that he would try and take the game to the top seed.
"I think he (Daniil Medvedev) has improved a lot," Krajinovic said. "Physically he is much better. He is serving so well. I think it is tough to beat him as he has no weakness right now. But as I said, I have nothing to lose so I am going to step it up and play aggressively."
"I am excited, I know Daniil Medvedev is going to play his best game" - Filip Krajinovic
Daniil Medvedev and Filip Krajinovic also faced each other at this year's Australian Open, with the former needing five sets to douse the 29-year-old's challenge. Medvedev actually led by two sets to love in that match before Krajinovic mounted a spirited comeback to draw level.
But the Russian crushed Krajinovic in the deciding set, serving him a bagel; he eventually won the match 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-0.
Krajinovic recalled that encounter on Sunday but pointed out that the conditions at the Australian Open were far different from the one at Indian Wells. The Melbourne Slam had a quick surface, whereas the BNP Paribas Open has historically been one of the slowest hardcourts on tour.
"I played really well. In Australia, we played five sets. But in Australia, it was different conditions than here, so let’s see," Krajinovic said. "I am excited. I know he is going to play his best game and is ready to play and I am also ready, so let’s see."