Daniil Medvedev didn’t take too kindly to falling outside the Top 10 following the Australian Open.

Since he debuted in the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in July 2019, Medvedev had not spent a day outside the exclusive club until a straight-sets loss to Sebastian Korda in Melbourne saw him tumble from No. 8 to No. 12 after the year’s first major. That dropped like a punch in the guts.

But it was more than just the loss of his 2022 Australian Open finalist points that underpinned the former World No. 1’s exit from the Top 10. After four titles, including the US Open, and a 63-13 record in 2021, Medvedev went 45-19 last year with just two titles. [He did miss the clay season, save for Roland Garros, after a hernia operation.]

The man nicknamed ‘Bear’ responded to his Australian Open disappointment by winning consecutive titles at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam and the ATP 250 in Doha. This week in Dubai he will attempt for the first time in his career to win three consecutive titles.

“The defeat [in five sets to Nadal] at the Aussie Open last year was a killer,” said former World No. 4 and esteemed coach and analyst Brad Gilbert. “He also had some other things going on and he wasn’t the same player he’d been. After watching him at these last two tournaments, he looks like the same guy that was winning so much. To me the biggest thing is that his confidence is back.”

Medvedev agreed that his confidence is now sky high. “I’m really happy with the last two weeks. I have a lot of confidence going, which is a good thing,” he said Monday in Dubai. “You can find confidence fast and unexpectedly. It can happen the same to lose it. I played a great level in both Rotterdam and Doha and am now looking forward to Dubai.”

A TennisViz analysis for Tennis Data Innovations of Medvedev’s back-to-back title run in Rotterdam and Doha shows how he has recaptured and even exceeded his 2021 form in two key areas: winning points from defensive positions (Steal Score) and forehand shot quality. (Shot Quality is calculated in real-time by analysing each shot’s speed, spin, depth, width, and the impact it has on the opponent.)

In 2021 Medvedev won an impressive 38 per cent of points after finding himself in a defensive position during the point. That dipped to 34 per cent in 2022. Medvedev’s aggregate Steal Score during his nine-match winning streak in Rotterdam and Doha has been an off-the-charts 43 per cent.

“He’s always been a great defensive player; he doesn’t move like a typical guy of that height,” Gilbert said. “He’s like a 6’ 6” wing guy in the NBA. Zverev might move as well as Medvedev but he doesn’t play as good defence. Sometimes we say someone defends well just because they are fast, but it’s more than that. It’s about balance and the ability to do things on the run. Medvedev is probably second behind Djokovic as the best player on tour on the run.”

The TDI analysis also reveals that Medvedev lifted his forehand shot quality from 8.0 in 2022 to 8.3 in Rotterdam and Doha.

Medvedev’s Forehand Fires Up!


Rotterdam & Doha

 Avg. Speed
 74.5 mph

 Avg. spin
2308 RPM
2470 RPM

 Forehands Made

“So goes his offensive forehand, so goes his game,” Gilbert said. “He’s got a sneaky good forehand from the centre of the court. It’s different to Rafa’s or Fed’s – he scoots into the court, hits it low and flat – but it’s a very important shot.

“As a big server, it’s also important to have the forehand working for the one-twos, or as some say the Serve +1. His game goes to another level when he gets more of those.”

Medvedev will be looking to use his current confidence to atone for a modest 1-2 record in two prior appearances in Dubai. He is seeded to meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

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