Daniil Medvedev heads to the US Open with one thing on his mind: defending the title he won last year. With Russian and Belarusian players cleared to compete, Medvedev, who missed out on Wimbledon because he was banned from playing due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, will now be keen to get back to action at Flushing Meadows after missing the grass-court Grand Slam event.
Medvedev, who hails from Russia but lives in Monaco, had to watch Wimbledon from afar and saw Novak Djokovic triumph on centre court. And there was a belief that the Serb would then head to Flushing Meadows in search of his fourth US Open title full of confidence. But, at present, it appears he won’t be allowed to compete, even though many bets on the US Open tennis event are being placed on the thirty-five-year-old.
So, even though Medvedev missed out on Wimbledon, he will surely start the US Open as the favourite if Djokovic isn’t involved, and you wouldn’t back against him being there or thereabouts when attempting to defend his crown. The twenty-six-year-old, who stands at a whopping 6’6, is currently the world number one, and that won’t change before the US Open gets underway at the end of the month.
What’s also been telling is Medvedev’s consistent performances at Grand Slam events since 2021. Last year, the Russian made the final in the Australian Open, the quarters at the French Open and then triumphed in the US Open. And his Grand Slam record so far this season has seen him finish runner-up at the Australian Open once again. He’s a man who is very much on a mission and looking to add to his one Grand Slam success before the year’s out.
Medvedev has also recently spoken of his eagerness to stay in position as world number one but fears it could be Rafael Nadal that presents the most danger in this respect. Medvedev, who heads to the Montreal Masters shortly, just needs to avoid an early exit to stay on top of the rankings, especially with Alexander Zverev, who is 775 points adrift, out of the tournament with an ankle injury.
But, between now and the end of the year, Medvedev knows that he has points to defend, while Nadal doesn’t. So, any slip-ups or early exits can see Nadal come into play as the world number one between now and December. The way to combat this is for Medvedev to come up good in tournaments and therefore keep the Spaniard at bay by winning the points required. Everything, up to now, is in his control, but Nadal will be waiting to pounce if the opportunity arises.
Speaking on the battle for top spot in the rankings, Medvedev said, “I know the most important is to try to win tournaments, try to win those points. Then you can keep (world number one).” And that’s precisely what he will be trying to do.