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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, March 9, 2023


Riding a 14-match winning streak and weary from jet lag, Daniil Medvedev talks past Indian Wells struggles and why he can fly high this month.

Photo credit: ABN AMRO Open Facebook

Rotterdam resurrection ignited Daniil Medvedev's desert dominance.

A masterful Medvedev soars into Indian Wells this week riding a 14-match winning streak, weary from jet lag and buzzed by the prospect of sustaining this winning flight.

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“Coming here to Indian Wells I’m feeling high in a way, and so I’m feeling great, working well with my physio and honestly I feel great right now," Medvedev told the media at the BNP Paribas Open. "I don’t know if at one part of the season this could kind of make me tired, but right now I feel great and ready for Indian Wells.”

A sharp Medvedev broke serve four times dethroning defending champion and good buddy Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-2 in a dazzling Dubai final last Saturday to extend one of the most successful streaks of his career. 

It was Medvedev's third consecutive championship following title runs in Rotterdam, where he rallied past Jannik Sinner in the final, and Doha, where he defeated former world No. 1 Andy Murray in straight sets.

It's been a convincing turnaround for Medvedev, who was bounced out of the Australian Open in a straight-sets loss to Sebastian Korda in a defeat that sent him spiraling out of the Top 10.

The 2021 US Open champion concedes his confidence was crushed and demons of doubt were dancing in his mind when he got down a set in his Rotterdam opener vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina last month.

An ornery Medvedev was ripe for a first-round exit, but somehow managed to turn that match around.

Since his 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 comeback conquest of the Spaniard in that Rotterdam opener, Medvedev has been nearly unstoppable winning 26 of the last 28 sets he's played.

Medvedev has mowed down four Top 10 opponents—world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Felix Auger-Aliassime (twice) and Rublev—in that span amassing a 19-2 start to the season.

“For sure losing in Australia early, getting out of the Top 10, I felt not easy with my tennis and you always doubt. ‘Okay, what went wrong and how can I come back to the level I know how to play?’ " Medvedev said. "In Rotterdam, just by winning the first two matches where in my opinion I didn’t play great, but still played well enough to win, I managed to find the rhythm.

"I started serving better, my backhand in the best moments I felt like I couldn’t miss a backhand anymore, my forehand was strong enough to put my opponents off-balance. Everything started working better and since then I managed to maintain it.”  

Former world No. 1 Medvedev opens against San Diego native Brandon Nakashima facing both a home hero and his own ignominious history in Palm Springs. 

In five prior Indian Wells' appearances, Medvedev has bottomed out in the desert with a 2021 round of 16 loss to Grigor Dimitrov his best career Indian Wells result.

Seventeen of Medvedev's 18 career titles have come on his favored hard court but he's largely struggled in this desert. Why?

Though Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas said he believes the courts are playing faster this year, Medvedev said slow conditions contributed to past crash-and-burns in Tennis Paradise.

“In my opinion it’s probably the combination of balls and surface. It plays like clay here, probably on the top list of the slowest courts of the year, probably with some other tournaments," Medvedev said. "Every player thinks the same, but some players it suits them well, some not.

"It plays very slow and for me it was not working well. What I’m happy about is Doha, I would say exactly the same, it was super slow, and I managed to win it. I didn’t feel my best there but I managed to win it so that gives me a big boost of confidence to try to play the same game here."

The No. 3-seeded Medvedev believes his recent resurgence and considerable confidence can fuel a deep run this month.

“The level of confidence is there," Medvedev said. "I felt great last three weeks, of course getting all the titles, which never happened to me. I never had three back-to-back titles, so feeling great and looking forward to playing here where I didn’t actually have such good results, usually.

"So let’s see if I can do it better this year. Every year is a new try.”


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