Daniil Medvedev and Casper Ruud bemoan small courts – ‘You feel sort of like a little in a cage’

Shahida Jacobs
Daniil Medvedev in action

Players who prefer to play from deep behind the baseline are disadvantaged by smaller courts on the ATP Tour, according to Daniil Medvedev and Casper Ruud although both acknowledge it is part and parcel of the game.

Following his fourth-round defeat to Aslan Karatsev at the Madrid Open, Medvedev had a grumble about the size of the Arantxa Sanchez Stadium as he felt it had an impact on his game as he didn’t have too much space to counter his opponent’s big serve.

Up next is the Italian Open and the courts at Foro Italico are likely to be give the deep standing players a bit more space, but Medvedev was again asked for his thoughts on the issue.

“The thing is when I talk to my coach after the match to try to see what I could have done better, how was the match, I thought it was really good match, where Aslan played good, which was impressive. The only thing we agreed on my coach was disappointing, I don’t know how the match would go if I can be further on return,” he said.

“On clay is even more important for me than on hard courts because in hard courts I can adapt. I like hard courts. In Doha was really small court. I managed to win it.

“On clay court, especially with Aslan who has really heavy serve, because I couldn’t go further, I had all the balls a little bit high, so I couldn’t put power on him. Against him, if you don’t put power, you get a winner straightaway. On his serve I didn’t have many opportunities, and that was really disappointing.”

Of course, not all tournaments have the space and money to have big courts and Medvedev understands that.

He added: “From one point of view I understand probably all the tournaments in the world cannot make all the match courts as big as I want or some other players want. At the same time it’s a disadvantage.

“Playing Karatsev on the second court, I had a disadvantage. Didn’t allow me to play my 100% tennis, even if I was probably at 98%. That’s disappointing because it was same, practice courts are always smaller.”

The world No 3 enjoyed a solid training session with Taylor Fritz in Rome on Tuesday and admitted he had flashback of Madrid.

“Today I practiced with Fritz. There were some good shots from him. I was touching the fence, so I lost the point because I touched the fence. I was straightaway thinking about Madrid.

“Yeah, I would love every tennis court to be 10 metres large and 10 metres wide, but I also understand it’s not possible. Every time I’m not going to have my space on the return, I’m going to be disappointed because I cannot play my best tennis.”

Ruud is another player who is not at his best when courts are small as he can’t stand deep to counter the power hitters as he backed up Medvedev’s concerns.

“Some courts on tour can be smaller or larger than others, not stadium-wise, but on length behind the baseline. So there are a couple of courts that to me can be a little bit small sometimes,” the Norwegian said.

“Just speaking my honesty here, you look at maybe myself or a player like Daniil Medvedev, for example, and last week in Madrid when we played, centre court is obviously very big in Madrid, for example, but Court No 2, if you look at where me and Daniil is returning, we’re very close to the line umpire. It can be a little tricky sometimes.”

“You feel like you can’t hit your ball when you have the line umpire and all these things like just half a meter behind you. You feel sort of like a little in a cage kind of way.

“Again, it’s sort of our own fault because we choose to stay that far back. I think both of us feel when we stay back or when I stay back, I win more points than when I am staying in. That’s why we do it. Some players like to stay no matter what.”

READ MORE: Why Daniil Medvedev may never solve clay court demons after Madrid Open exit