Daniil Medvedev opens the primer season in Geneva
Russia’s best tennis player enters the court for the first time after surgery to remove a hernia
Russian Daniil Medvedev has not played for a month and a half. The last match No. 2 of the world ranking took place on March 31 in the quarterfinals of the “Masters” in Miami with Hubert Hurkacz after which he took a break in performances to undergo surgery to remove a hernia and the subsequent recovery. During that time, Daniel has missed three Masters primaries – in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome – and will begin the primaries series at the ATP-250 tournament in Geneva – just a week before the start of Roland Garros. We’ll tell you why he needs to go to Switzerland.
Medvedev wasn’t originally planning to play in Geneva, so he asked the organizers to give him a wild-card, which they gladly accepted. While most of the Russian’s opponents on the Tour – Zverev, Tsitsipas, Rublev and even Djokovic – have been playing on clay since April and have been playing on this surface for six weeks and have even almost completed their preparation for Roland Garros, Daniil is just starting his competitive practice on clay. And as you know, his relationship with this surface is not the brightest. Medvedev won just one official second round match before the French Open last year, in Madrid. He won one more as part of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown-4 tournament. That’s not much to say! But for the first time in his career Daniel made it to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
Last year’s experience shows that Medvedev badly needs match practice to play well at the French Open. No tournament like the UTS is available, so it’s worth getting into a rhythm at least for lower tournaments than the Masters and ATP-500. Geneva is very suitable in that sense. Surely Daniel’s team is counting on the tennis player to play a few matches on the ground before going to Paris. “It was never easy for me to play on the mainland right away. But even one tournament will help me get ready. I feel good physically,” the Russian said after arriving in Geneva.
It seems that Daniil seriously intends to perform as well as possible in such a short mainland season, which will be not more than 3 weeks this year. Anyway, according to FTR President Shamil Tarpischev two more Russian coaches – Igor Andreyev and Igor Kunitsyn – have been invited to join Medvedev’s team: “Andreyev will be in the team. But Kunitsyn is in charge of the guys. Andreev works more with women. But they both will be there.
Nevertheless, Daniil and his fans should not be upset if the result at Roland Garros will not be as desired because the Russian tennis player is just recovering from the surgery. Look at Medvedev’s main rival for the top spot in the world rankings, Novak Djokovic. After a forced break, which was due to the Serb’s position on the vaccination, he was very slowly, gradually reaching his level and showed it only at the “Masters” in Rome. By the way, there Novak not only won the title, but also strengthened his position on the first line. Now Djokovic is 680 points ahead of Medvedev in the new ATP list.
In any case, Djokovic will remain the world number one until the end of Roland Garros, regardless of how Daniel performs in Geneva. The Russian can, in theory, dethrone Djokovic at the end of the French Open, but he will need a good performance both in Switzerland and Paris for this to happen. What rivals can Daniel get in Geneva? The Russian skips the first round and will face Richard Gasquet in the second. In the quarter-finals, Daniil can go to Kamil Maixchak, Dominic Thiem or Marco Cecchinato. Denis Shapovalov (3) and Nikoloz Basilashvili (5) are candidates for the semifinals. The final is scheduled for Saturday, May 21. Kasper Ruud (2), Riley Opelka (4), Federico Delbonis (7) may appear in the bottom half of the schedule.
The first match for Medvedev will be on Tuesday, May 17. Meanwhile, Roland Garros will take place from May 22 to June 5.