Daniil Medvedev explains how he went from playing Playstation for hours to becoming a dedicated pro
World No 5 Daniil Medvedev admits it took him a while before he “decided to dedicate everything to tennis”.
The 22-year-old is coming off a stellar 2019 season as he reached six consecutive finals, including his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open, and won two ATP Masters 1000 titles.
His performances last year saw him reach a career-high No 4, having started the campaign outside the top 50.
In an interview with Behind The Racquet, the Russian revealed that he wasn’t very professional during the early stages of his career.
“I remember talking to [Russian-born Kazakhstan player Alexander] Bublik, playing a future thirty minutes away from where I lived in France. I was around 700 in the world and asked him: ‘How do you even become 300, does it seem impossible ? To this day he remembers that line and will joke when he sees me. ‘Come on, how did you become 300?’
“Even after reaching the top 100 for the first time, I knew deep down I was not professional. When I was on court I would give 100%, but off the court I would not do the right things. I went to bed late, play hours of Playstation and just not worry about the right things.
“From 70 to 5 in the world was the jump where I really decided where I really decided to dedicate everything to tennis. I wanted to find my limits. I know people say there are none, but I want to test myself and test mine. That was the moment for me.
“I remember before that major jump where I would play one long match and I would lose the next day just because I couldn’t move. If you talk to anyone from juniors they would say I was one of the players in the worst shape, sometimes cramping after only thirty minutes. It has been the consistency of physical training and recovery every day that has changed my game.”
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“There was always a little bit of a fight between my father and my mother. My mother wanted me to study more, which is why I was in school while playing tennis until I was 18. In Russia most professional athletes are done studying around 12 years old. It might have been the reason I wasn’t as good as my friends for some time, but I have no regrets. There were many tough times before the help from the federation and sponsors, when there wasn’t enough money. There were matches where I lost and all I was thinking about was the extra 100 dollars I could’ve made. The toughest period for me was the switch from juniors to pros. I ended at 13 in the world in junior tennis. I started to quickly understand, after playing futures, just how difficult it would be to get from 700 to 300 in the world. You needed to save as much money as possible while trying to win five or six futures as quickly as possible. At the time I was lost, didn’t know how to do that because there were so many other players trying to do the same thing. I remember talking to Bublik, playing a future thirty minutes away from where I lived in France. I was around 700 in the world and asked him, ‘How do you even become 300, it seems impossible?’ To this day he remembers that line and will joke when he sees me, ‘Come on, how did we become 300?!’ Even after reaching the top 100 for the first time, I knew deep down I wasn’t professional. When I was on court I would give 100%, but off the court I wouldn’t do the right things. I would go to bed late, play hours of PlayStation and just not worry about the small things. From 70 to top 5 in the world was the jump where I really decided to dedicate everything to tennis. I wanted to finally find my limits. I know people say there are none, but I want to test myself and find mine. That was the moment for me. I remember before that major jump where I would play one long match and I would lose the next day just because I couldn’t move. If you talk to anyone from juniors they would say I was one of the players in the worst shape, sometimes cramping after only thirty minutes…” Swipe 👉 pictures to continue reading @medwed33 story!
He added: “They ask me 200 times, but my answer will always be the same, I don’t have an idol, just want to be myself. Being top ten isn’t the reason for this, you may not believe me, but even if I was a thousand in the world at 22 and quit after seeing I had no potential, I would still think the same. I just want to be myself.”
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