Daniil Medvedev could be forgiven for a little wishful thinking after he confirmed his status as the current king of the hard courts by winning the Miami Open on Sunday.
“If it would be my choice there would be only hard courts,” he said with a grin after beating Jannik Sinner in straight sets in the Miami final.
The victory was Medvedev’s fourth of the hard court season and means he has now won every hard court ATP Masters event with the exception of Indian Wells—where he was beaten in the final by Carlos Alcaraz earlier this month.
Of course, the performances in California and Miami were in tournaments without Novak Djokovic, the man who has won 13 Grand Slam titles on hard courts.
Medvedev also managed to avoid a rematch with world number one Alcaraz in Miami, after the Spaniard lost a thrilling semi-final to Sinner on Friday.
But there was businesslike ease to Medvedev’s win on Sunday which came after a tough three-set battle past compatriot Karen Khachanov in the semi-final.
Unfortunately though for the Russian, the tour now moves on to clay and then grass, surfaces where his record is less impressive.
Medvedev says the crucial difference between surfaces for him is that on hard he can still win games when not playing well.
“I feel the best game on hard courts, even if I know that I can play well enough on grass and clay. On hard courts I feel the most fluid. And on hard courts I can play not my best tennis but still win the matches and that’s a big difference,” he told reporters after his 7-5, 6-3 win over Sinner.
“I know that I can play well on clay. I beat Novak (Djokovic) once on clay. I actually beat (Stefanos) Tsitsipas and Novak in the same tournament once. That’s a pretty good achievement on clay,” he added, referring to the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters.
“But if on hard courts like here, I feel like many of the matches I didn’t play my best tennis, but I managed to win them in the tournament. Clay court is tougher for me.
“If I don’t play my best tennis, I can lose much easier. So hopefully I can be at my best on clay court season,” he said.
Medvedev’s run of form means he will move up to fourth in the ATP world rankings on Monday having been outside the top 10 as recently as mid-February.
The Russian missed a large part of the clay season last year due to a hernia operation and so he has few points to lose in the rankings calculations in the run-up to the French Open.
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