What Daniil Medvedev needs to do to retain his US Open title
Daniil Medvedev has been backed to do well at the US Open provided he can stay out of his head and in the moment.
Medvedev is one of the best players on hard courts right now and comes into the tournament off the back of a decent swing.
After winning Los Cabos to get back onto the hard court circuit, Medvedev met with a red-hot Nick Kyrgios in Montreal which saw him exit in his tournament opener, following which he enjoyed a run to the final in Cincinnati.
Todd Woodbridge, a 16-time Grand Slam winner in doubles, believes that Medvedev should be counted among the favourites for the US Open men’s singles crown.
“He’s had that steady progression upwards the whole way, and this year there’s been nowhere else to go when you’re No.1,” Woodbridge told ausopen.com.
“I think it will be tough for him to defend his title. I think he’ll go well, but I think there will be the expectation of points, of trying to maintain that No.1 ranking. There’s just all these variables.
“Whereas in the previous 12 months he learned to get rid of the distraction and play great tennis, I think the distractions have crept into his game and have built pressure on him.”
Until Los Cabos Medvedev had failed to win a title in 2022, losing finals in Melbourne, Hertogenbosch and Halle this season.
Woodbridge believes that Medvedev might be carrying the ghosts of the Australian Open final with him having lost that match to Rafael Nadal after being in a dominant position.
“I think how his year has played out has a lot to do with the Australian Open final loss. To lose a match from that position leaves scar tissue,” he said.
“It changes the mentality of a player, until he’s able to actually win another one. You very rarely get second chances at those levels.
“I think he’s had to unravel that mentally.”
Medvedev is known for the odd on-court meltdown and flare up and Woodbridge believes if this side comes out then the Russian could be headed out of the US Open.
“I think if he can play outside his own head, he will do well. He’s a tactically astute player; if he can just focus down the other end of the court to what is happening there, and what he needs to do, then he’ll give himself the best chance of winning again,” Woodbridge said.
“If too much of it becomes internal, and we see that sometimes chippy, temperamental Medvedev, that would suggest immediately that there are other things in his mindset that would make it very hard to win.”
In order to retain his World No 1 status Medvedev might well need to defend his US Open title with players ranked from World No 3 down to World No 7 Casper Ruud retaining a mathematical chance to become the rankings king after the visit to Flushing Meadows.
The US Open main draw gets underway on Monday 29 August 2022.
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