Former world No 6 gives insight into how he is helping Daniil Medvedev in coaching role

Ewan West
Daniil Medvedev during a match
Daniil Medvedev points

Gilles Simon has revealed he has been working with Daniil Medvedev in a coaching capacity since December and explained he has been helping the Russian tactically. 

The former world No 6 described Medvedev as “extremely strong tactically” and divulged he prepared tactics for 16 players Medvedev “doesn’t like to play against.”

Medvedev is regarded by many as being one of the most intelligent and tactically astute players on the circuit, with these qualities on full display during his run to the Australian Open final last month.

Despite losing to Jannik Sinner in the title match in Melbourne, the world No 4 was hailed for adopting and executing a far more aggressive strategy than usual to take the first two sets in stunning fashion.

It was recently revealed that Simon had joined Medvedev’s team to work alongside his long-time coach Gilles Cervara. Tennis Majors have reported that Simon would be in the 28-year-old’s box at some events in the absence of Cervara, including this week’s Dubai Championships.

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In an interview with Le Figaro, Simon revealed he has been helping Medvedev since December and that he had given him tactical advice ahead of his first win over Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters.

“Daniil contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a few weeks with them (Medvedev and his team) in 2024,” the 39-year-old said.

“[In 2019, before Medvedev faced Djokovic in the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo] he had said to me: ‘Novak…what do you think?’ I had explained to him how to play and he had won. He remembered, which is why he wanted to try it out with me.

“I’ve already been working with him since December, but we haven’t said anything. In Australia, I sent all the tactics. During Daniil’s matches, I would send instructions to Gilles Cervara, who would pass them on, or not, in real time to Daniil! That’s really where I can help him.

“For example, he gave me a list of 16 players he doesn’t like to play against, and I prepared 16 tactics! Daniil is extremely strong tactically, feels very precisely what needs to be done, but it happens to him, like everyone else, to make mistakes.

“Because of emotions, because he’s impatient… So, I try to explain it to him, and I think he likes it.”

Simon, who won 14 ATP titles during a 20-year career that ended in 2022, was renowned for his strategic nous during his time on tour. The Frenchman won three of his four matches against Medvedev and earned victories over Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Medvedev gave his thoughts on the collaboration to Tennis Majors: “He is an addition to the team. He is going to help us move forward, help us win titles, and help me become a better player.

“We see how it goes. So far it has been going good. Hopefully it is for a very long time but that depends on a lot of factors. We will see how much time he spends.

“For sure, Gilles Cervara will be more time with me than Gilles Simon. That is how it works because that is how it was. We will see what the future brings as to how many weeks he will be with us.

“My expectations are that Gilles Simon is a very smart player that can help me improve my game – especially hoping to improve parts of my game that are maybe not the best. So far it’s been going good.”

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