Daniil Medvedev on how being No 1 brings a lot of haters – ‘Novak has a lot of haters. Even Rafa and Roger’
There were no on-court theatrics from Daniil Medvedev during his latest win at the Indian Wells Open, but he delivered some candid responses during his post-match press conference as he talked about the pressures of being No 1 and the haters that come with that tag as well as his ultimate goal in tennis.
Medvedev continued his hot streak on the ATP Tour on Wednesday as he won his 18th consecutive match with another solid display against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Whereas his win over Alexander Zverev the previous day was an eventful encounter, he was quite muted against Fokina as he claimed a 6-3, 7-5 victory to reach the semi-final of the ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career.
There were also no antics during the traditional post-match talk with the media, instead he gave some frank answers.
Medvedev is currently No 6 in the ATP Rankings, but he is a former world No 1 and there is no doubt that he could return to the top spot if he continues his current run of form for a couple more tournaments.
Asked about the pros and cons of being No 1, he replied: “Honestly, it’s tough what I would say, but it felt normal. When I say ‘normal,’ not that I take it for granted or something. It’s just like it felt great.
“Because I knew that at the moment when I had the No 1 I was not playing my best and I was losing some matches. But I had this No 1 spot because I had whatever, 2,000 points from US Open, 1,000 from Toronto, 600 Bercy, maybe 800 or whatever from Turin, so I had a lot of points accumulated during the last 52 weeks, and that’s how rankings are.
“I think that’s very fair, otherwise I would be No 1 right now just because I won three last tournaments in a row, but that’s not how rankings work.
“I was really happy I managed to take this spot and hold it for that long. I was not happy with the level of my tennis and with the matches I lost, but this had nothing to do with the No 1. It was just, yeah, losing other tennis matches to other players.
“Are the tennis players trying to beat you more when you’re No 1? I don’t know. I hope not, because it would be better for them if they try to do it every match no matter which number you are at the ranking.
“What else? And for sure the pressure is not easy, because you know that everyone expects a lot from you. I think that taught me even more because for sure when I was 20 and just coming up, you love social media, you love reading all the comments about yourself, how people, Okay, he’s going to do good, or even, He’s a bad player, and when you’re young you sometimes answer to them, no, I’m going to do good, that.
“And this pressure of being No 1, for sure a lot of haters. And that’s normal. Novak [Djokovic] has a lot of haters. Even Rafa [Nadal] and Roger [Federer] somehow have them. You’re, like, how is this possible? They shouldn’t have (smiling).
“And that taught me to even less care about this and focus more on myself, on my close people around me, because that’s only way you can stay sane and true to you, to kind of, as I said, to have no regrets. Just because someone said you should have put this backhand in the court, no, you know you did your best and maybe your coach is going to tell you if you should have done something better, and he’s the only person who can kind of tell you this.”
Medvedev has already achieved two big goals in his career as besides getting to No 1 in the ATP Rankings he has also won a Grand Slam as he lifted the 2021 US Open trophy.
Asked if he has a long-term goal or just going day-to-day, the 27-year-old said: “Definitely more day to day, because the only goal I said to myself probably around, whatever, I don’t remember exactly, but four years ago when I started to take tennis more seriously for a bunch of different reasons that were happening in my life.
“Where before I was just, I was already top 100 but I was just travelling the tour, in a way for fun, because tennis is never fun; it’s always your job. But I could go out before the tournament, I could go to sleep late before the match, because I was, like, whatever, I’m going to play well anyway.
“Then at one moment I stopped this and I started being more professional about my career and my tennis. That’s when I set my most important goal is to have no regrets when I finish my career. Meaning the match with Rafa, for sure I regret that I couldn’t win it and didn’t have my second Slam. I was close, but I fought. I fought till the end. Maybe I missed some shots, but that’s sport.
“And I don’t want to be, yeah, when I’m 35 or whatever and I retire, I don’t want to say, like I heard some other tennis players do, if I would have done this different in my career, maybe my career would be better or I regret doing this.
“I want to, when I finish my career, no matter how many Slams, tournaments won, or whatever, just to know that I have done my best. So far I feel like I’m achieving my goal, even last year not the best year, but I was trying. I was trying hard, and I was doing my best, and has been working this year.
“So that’s my biggest goal.”
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