Russia, led by Daniil Medvedev, began their 2022 ATP Cup campaign on Sunday with a win over France. The defending champions won two of their three fixtures, with the solitary defeat being Medvedev's loss against Ugo Humbert.
Medvedev and Humbert engaged in a three-hour-long marathon, in which the Russian led by a set and a break. However, Humbert fought back to win 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (2), and help France draw level at 1-1 after Roman Safiullin had earlier defeated Arthur Rinderknech.
While Humbert got a breather after the match, Medvedev was not as fortunate. After his defeat, he had to return to court a mere "25 minutes" later to pair up with Safiullin for the deciding doubles fixture against Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
During the post-match press conference, Medvedev expressed his displeasure at the schedule, revealing that he had been playing with cramps in his doubles fixture.
"When I heard I had 25 minutes to get ready for doubles, I was not happy," Daniil Medvedev said. "It's definitely not enough when you play a three-hour match and you're cramping. I'm playing for here Russia, for my country. If I have to die on the court, I will try to do it and try to win."
Medvedev revealed that he began to cramp up during the second set in his match against Humbert. The Russian led 3-0 in that set but capitulated to hand the Frenchman a way back into the match.
"My match (with Humbert) was unreal," Medvedev said. "I'm disappointed that I lost, but it was another real match where I was cramping since end of the second set, but yet managed, you know, to almost win it."
"I definitely had some emotional moments in my career, but this one would be in the top three, top five" - Daniil Medvedev on Russia's comeback against France
Russia's win against France was largely due to Roman Safiullin's grit and tenacity. Safiullin lost the first set against Rinderknech in a timid fashion in the opening fixture of the tie but produced a stellar comeback to give his side a 1-0 lead.
During the post-match press conference, Daniil Medvedev showered rich praise on countryman Safiullin's comeback. Medvedev also revealed that the overall tie would rank amongst the top three or five "emotional moments" of his career.
“I definitely had some emotional moments in my career, but this one would be in the top three, top five, because just look at Roman's match,” Medvedev said in Russia’s post-match press conference. “The way he fought back after [a] tough first set where we can say he lost it quite easily, and then the way he fought back, the way he played was unreal."
Russia will next face Australia in the 2022 ATP Cup.