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Is Daniil Medvedev the future king of the ATP rankings?

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev (Source: AP)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 5 Oct 2021 12:29 PM GMT

Russia may remain home to the elegant tennis Queen Maria Sharapova, but the country has not produced as many world-class Men's singles tennis players as one would expect. But now, things seem to be changing. Times perhaps have changed. The turn of the tide is here, as the young 25-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev has burst onto the international tennis scene in a promising fashion with convincing live tennis results.

Though the world of tennis has been dominated by the big three, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer, who all are above 35 now, it seems obvious that the world of tennis will feature a new King. A young and energetic King who may dominate the Grand-Slams for the rest of the decade. Perhaps the search has come to an end, and there finally is a name that everyone in the tennis world is looking at.

The Russian professional Tennis Player, Daniil Medvedev, was born in Moscow on 11 February 1996. An advertisement for tennis coaching near a poolside led his parents to enroll him in tennis lessons at the age of six. It makes one wonder if that would be the most significant enrollment in the tennis history of entire Russia. Well, it certainly does seem like so!

At the tender age of 18, his parents moved to France, where Daniil continued to practice at a nearby tennis academy. Medvedev turned pro in 2014. Just like all the tennis players, the beginnings were humble for Medvedev as well. It was not until the year 2017 that he made it to his first ATP singles final at the Chennai Open but lost there. In the same year, his first-ever grand-slam match victory came against Stan Wawrinka, whom he defeated in the first round. Wawrinka was World number 3 and fifth seed at that time. In the next round, he not only lost the game but was also fined for his conduct since he insulted the umpire and even threw coins under his chair.

In 2018, the boy from Moscow registered his first ATP title as he clinched the Sydney International title. In the same year, he defeated Steve Johnson in straight sets at the 2018 Winston Salem Open. October 2018 brought more joy as he won his first ATP 500 and overall the 3rd ATP title of his career and the year.

These were just the beginnings. Certainly, they must have brought him a great deal of self-confidence and joy. By now, one thing was obvious that hard courts were Medvedev's strength. He finished the year with the most victories for a player on hard courts, 38 wins on tour. He also tied with the most titles on a hard court with the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Karen Khachanov. Quite a list to be part of, isn't it?

Now, the trajectory of Medvedev's career was upwards. It was obvious that his career was soon going to take the top flight. And that happened in 2019 when he won two master's titles and made it to six straight finals, which included victorious campaigns at Sofia Open and Western & Southern Open.

The special thing about the year was that he defeated the World number 1 and an all-time legend Novak Djokovic twice in the year. Another Noticeable performance came in the 2019 US Open, where he entered as the World number 5. After defeating players like Wawrinka, Lopez, and Dellien, Medvedev made it to his first-ever grand slam final. Unfortunately, he couldn't defeat Rafael Nadal, who won the title final in five sets. Still, it was a great effort by the young Russian star, which remains well in contention to be an all-time great.

While Medvedev continued his upward rise for much of 2020, the breakthrough year was 2021. He reached his second grand slam final at the US Open, where he came up against the legendary Novak Djokovic, who won his Eight Australian Open titles that year while ending Medvedev's 20 match winning streak.

But redemption had to come for Medvedev. And, it came much earlier than the expectations and anticipation. At the US Open, Medvedev and Djokovic faced off again in the final. The whole world had their eyes on the final as Novak had won Australian, French, and Wimbledon Opens earlier in the year. The victory would mean a perfect Grand Slam year for him and would also give him his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.

Not to be!

It was Medvedev's day. It was his moment. It was the Russian's chance of celebration. It was a comprehensive victory for the Russian who defeated the World number 1, Novak Djokovic, in straight sets, thus becoming the first Russian to win the US Open since the year 2000. It was a joy for the whole of Russia, as Daniil Medvedev won his first major tennis tournament, that too in a promising fashion.

Daniil Medvedev is currently the second-ranked player on the ATP rankings. Considering the coming events, it looks obvious that the top-ranked Novak Djokovic will lose some points while Medvedev hasn't got much to lose on clay courts. Therefore, in the next few months, Daniil Medvedev will surely make it to the top spot.

Russia is soon going to have a guy at the very top of the ATP Career rankings. With Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, all toward the ends of their careers, the next generation of tennis stars has to take over. And, Daniil, Medvedev look all set for that. The next king of the ATP rankings has arrived.

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