Ten years ago, Russian Nikolay Davydenko had teenagers like Daniil Medvedev in awe as they watched him beat Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro to win the Nitto ATP Finals title the first year the season finale was held at The O2 in London.
Davydenko became the first Russian to win the season-ending event and, to date, remains the only Russian to have won the prestigious title. But Medvedev, now 23 years old and ranked No. 4 in the ATP Rankings, will try to change that next week when he makes his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, which is in its second-to-last year in London.
The Moscow native has been drawn in Group Andre Agassi along with No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and No. 7 Alexander Zverev of Germany.
“I think all of us young Russian players saw this title. It was amazing, he’s the only Russian to win it,” Medvedev said. “It feels really good, I think for the country, to be back here, to represent my country, and hopefully I can just show some good tennis and win some matches.”
Medvedev has been doing a lot of winning in 2019, his best season on Tour. The 6’6” right-hander leads the ATP Tour in wins (59), finals reached (nine) and is one title away from tying Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic (five) atop the ATP Tour 2019 titles leaderboard.
By making six consecutive finals – Washington, Montreal, Cincinnati (title), US Open, St. Petersburg (title), Shanghai (title) – the Russian joined the Big Four of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray as the only active players who have reached six or more consecutive finals.
The Russian last played at the Rolex Paris Masters, where he fell in his opening match to home favourite Jeremy Chardy in three sets.
“I’m still confident about my game,” Medvedev said. “Paris was not the result I wanted, but it happens, it’s tennis. Jeremy played a great match, so good. I had my opportunities, didn’t use them. Every match you play, you can lose or win, there’s no draw or anything like in other sports. This time I lost, but I know that if I manage to be in great shape on Monday – that’s what we’re trying to do now with my team – I have chances to win if I play good, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Medvedev will face Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during Monday’s afternoon session. Medvedev leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-0, which includes a straight-sets win in the Rolex Shanghai Masters semi-finals last month.
“Hopefully, we’re going to have a lot of matches to come throughout our careers, in the later stages of the tournament,” Medvedev said of himself, Tsitsipas and Zverev. “Hopefully we can have a lot of great matches to come.”