Daniil Medvedev declares his love for Roland Garros after winning opener, joking ‘it’s Tuesday and I’m still here’

Daniil Medvedev plays a shot Carlos Alcaraz

He has never been shy of hiding his hatred for clay, but Daniil Medvedev insisted after his first-round win at Roland Garros that he “loves” the tournament, well “since last year anyway”.

Having started the 2022 French Open under an injury cloud, Medvedev opened his campaign with an impressive 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over an injury-hit Facundo Bagnis.

Up until 2021 he did not have much of a love affair with the tournament as he fell at the first hurdle during his four visits to Paris before reaching the quarter-final last year.

Medvedev must have been worried that he would revert to his “old” form on clay when he was broken in the first game of the match by the Argentine, who had been struggling with a calf injury, but he was back level in the next game and two more breaks set up the set.

The US Open champion then raced into a 4-0 lead in the second set while he three breaks to one in the third set wrapped up the match.

“I love Roland Garros, since last year anyway!” he said on court. “Before that I don’t know if I actually loved it given that I was out on the Sunday when the tournament was actually starting on the Monday. But now it’s Tuesday and I’m still here.”

There were doubts over the world No 2’s participation in the clay-court Grand Slam as he only returned to action at the Geneva Open last week after undergoing a hernia operation, but he has declared himself 100 per cent fit.

“I’ve been well after my surgery, I didn’t think I would be able to play on clay,” the 26-year-old, who will face Laslo Dere in the second round, said.

“I had plenty of discussions and support from my trainers and doctors up until last week, but with the help of the doctors and the physios I’ve been able to be back on my feet to even play a match on clay last week and I’m 100% ready to play Roland Garros.”