Daniil Medvedev fielded plenty of questions about his feelings on clay this season. But despite losing in the first round of the NOVENTI OPEN last week to start his grass-court season, the Russian has left no doubt ahead of the Mallorca Championships that on this surface, he is more confident.
“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev said. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”
The World No. 2 has earned big wins on grass, most notably upsetting Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon in 2017. But the grass-court season is the shortest of all surfaces, making it even more important for players to adapt quickly.
“In Halle, I had three days of practice, which was definitely not enough to feel good,” Medvedev said. “I lost my first round against a great player, so it [was] not easy, [and] that is why I decided to come to Mallorca to try and get some more matches.”
According to the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion, who recently made the Roland Garros quarter-finals, there are also other factors in adjusting to grass.
“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” Medvedev said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”
Medvedev is the top seed this week, but there are plenty of tough opponents in Mallorca, including second seed Dominic Thiem. Medvedev will play Lloyd Harris or Corentin Moutet in the second round.
“It is a really strong field here,” Medvedev said. “Everyone said to Novak Djokovic, ‘Why are you going to Belgrade [the week before Roland Garros]?’ But he gained a lot of confidence there. I don’t think he played his best tennis there, but then he came and destroyed everyone at Roland Garros, so I think sometimes it can be good just to prepare ahead of a Grand Slam and win some matches.”