Medvedev seizes the opportunity to impress French Open fans

Like many Muscovites, including Rublev, Medvedev grew up playing much of the year in fast indoor conditions.

“It wasn’t even hard courts – it was more like indoor ice,” Rublev said with a laugh on Saturday. “You touch the ball and the ball is like a rocket. You hit a ball and the ball goes so fast, even when you’re 6 years old. In Moscow there is actually a lot of clay, but the problem is that there is not much summer, only two or three months, so you don’t have much time to play on it.

Rublev, the No. 7 seed and long-time Spain-based, has had more consistent results on clay at the professional level and was a quarter-finalist at the French Open in 2020 and runner-up at the Open de Monte. -Carlo last year. His forehand, hitting with heavy topspin and high racquet head speed, fits the traditional view of a clay-court player much more than Medvedev’s with his relatively flat shots.

But it’s very tempting to agree with Rublev that Medvedev’s biggest obstacle on clay is between the ears.

“He didn’t beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo for nothing,” Rublev said in an interview, recalling an upset in 2019. “So I think it’s more about him, that he put that in his head, only about clay. And we can all see now that he’s won every game here quite easily, beating some good players.

Yet the path does not get any smoother. Medvedev is in a friendlier neighborhood than the top half of the table, but it’s still a tough neighborhood with Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Hubert Hurkacz and Casper Ruud all on the prowl.

Next up for Medvedev: No. 20 seed Marin Cilic, who beat a tired Gilles Simon 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday in the elderly Simon’s final French Open match 37 years old (he will retire at the end of the year). Simon, one of the cleanest hitters and deepest thinkers on the tour, gave a great summary of why it will soon be time to say goodbye.

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