Daniil Medvedev prepared for the 2021 US Open final against 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in a unique way. Instead of spending hours on the practice court, the Russian invested his time in Formula 1 and the Premier League, which served as a "distraction" for him.
Medvedev, a self-confessed F1 fan, revealed to Eurosport Russia that he watched seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Belgian-Dutch star Max Verstappen collide at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday morning. The 25-year-old also witnessed Liverpool score a commanding 3-0 win over Leeds to move into top position in the Premier League table.
"Switching away from tennis helps me," Medvedev said. "Today was the day of the final. It seemed like I could have gotten up at 7 am and only been thinking, 'What should I do? What should I do? How to win it?'"
"But I watched Formula 1 - Verstappen and Hamilton, that unreal crash," he added. "I got into Formula 1 three years ago and hardly miss any races. Then I watched Leeds vs Liverpool. There I had Trent (Alexander-Arnold who is on Medvedev's fantasy team) assisting, Raphinha doing nothing."
Medvedev, who beat Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to claim his maiden Slam title, also claimed that taking his mind off tennis helped him relax.
"I like to relax," Medvedev said. "This is how I keep in touch with my friends. We are discussing the game, football, lineups. It makes life easier."
"It’s not like if I don’t win 20 Grand Slam titles my life will be a failure," he added. "I will not be upset that I have not achieved anything in my life. I treat it like a job. And I try to do it with all my might."
The reigning ATP Finals champion went on to reiterate the importance of switching off tennis in a separate comment on Monday. Medvedev posted a tweet on his social media handle, claiming that watching F1 and football were a distraction for him.
Daniil Medvedev is not the only F1-loving US Open champion
Incidentally, both the newly-crowned US Open singles champions are big fans of F1. Women's singles winner Emma Raducanu also recently spoke about her fondness for motorsport.
"When I have time, I love to watch Formula 1 and I’ve started to follow it week-by-week. I watched the British Grand Prix and Daniel Ricciardo is my favorite driver," Raducanu was quoted as saying by Daily Express.
The British teen even went on to draw similarities between tennis and F1.
"As tennis players, we can learn a lot from their reactions – you have to see everything so fast because the speeds that they’re going at are unbelievable," Raducanu said. "Those reactions and instincts can relate a lot to tennis."