Why Daniil Medvedev is the Next Big Thing
This time last year Daniil Medvedev had only just broken into the world’s top 50. Now, after cruising to victory in the Shanghai Masters, he is on track to finish the year as World Number 3 above Roger Federer as a result of winning his 2 Masters 1000 titles and reaching his first Grand Slam final. The Russian is the form player on the ATP World Tour and looks extremely difficult to beat.
Now many people will cite the achievements of Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev on the ATP Tour as a counterargument to the fact that Medvedev looks set to dominate men’s tennis very soon. Both Dimitrov and Zverev have won Masters titles and reached World Number 3 but have seemingly made no dent in the armour of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, so what makes Medvedev so different? The answer is in Grand Slam performance and overall consistency.
While Dimitrov has made 3 Grand Slam semi-finals in his career, he has never really looked like winning any of those semi-finals and has never been able to back up one good week with another. Zverev, on the other hand, shows great consistency week to week on the ATP World Tour, but despite having reached World Number 3 and having won the World Tour Finals, he has never been past a Grand Slam quarter-final. Medvedev, on the other hand, has made a Grand Slam final in the first year of him being in the Top 10, and has recently shown an incredible level of consistency. Medvedev has won an astonishing 29/32 matches since Wimbledon and has made 6 finals in a row, winning tournaments in Montreal, St Petersburg and Shanghai. In doing this, Medvedev beat the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem, showing that he can certainly mix it with the best.
The other advantage that Medvedev has over his counterparts is an incredible ability to compartmentalise his emotions on court. While the likes of Zverev and Tsitsipas are prone to outbursts which can result in lapses of focus, Medvedev does not relent no matter what is happening on court. In New York, the crowd booed Medvedev throughout his matches and post-match interviews in Round 3 and 4. Not only did Medvedev manage to ignore this and win the matches, but he also managed to win the crowd over, with his runners-up speech at the US Open being cheered by those who heckled him.
So Medvedev is consistent, both in best of 3 and best of 5 formats, can beat players considered to be the best in history and has the perfect attitude for somebody looking to become the dominant force in a professional sport. For these reasons, I believe the Russian, along with Dominic Thiem, is set to rise to the top of men’s tennis within the next 12-18 months.
Written by Emre Saridogan