After a “crazy” string of matches led him to the title match last year at the Nitto ATP Finals, Daniil Medvedev returns to Turin with his sights set on a third straight run to the final at the prestigious event.
The 26-year-old was an undefeated champion in London in 2020, and again reached the final with a perfect 4-0 record last season before falling to Alexander Zverev. Each of his round-robin matches in 2021 went three sets as he defeated Hubert Hurkacz, Zverev and Jannik Sinner.
“They were crazy,” he said of his group-stage contests. “Two final-set tie-breaks, and against Hubert was also a crazy, close match. I remember it like if it was yesterday.
“That’s the thing about the [Nitto] ATP Finals. Every match is going to be tough. Even if you’re going to, for some reason, win with an easy score, it’s going to be a tough match still — tough mentally, where from the first to last point you have to show your best tennis. That’s what we love about it.”
That will certainly hold true this year, as Medvedev was drawn into a stacked Red Group that also includes five-time Nitto ATP Finals champ Novak Djokovic, 2019 winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and sixth seed Andrey Rublev.
“I felt it’s a pretty tough draw,” Medvedev assessed. “At the same time, in the other group we also have great players… It’s not easy in any group.
“But as I said, there are top players and if you want to win this tournament, you have to beat the best. Our group, I feel like, is pretty even and everybody can go through. Everybody [in the group] has beaten everybody at least once, so that’s great. We’re going to have some great tennis.”
Now a veteran of the Nitto ATP Finals in his fourth straight appearance, Medvedev is enjoying the unique atmosphere in Turin.
“Its great tournament,” he said. “From the first day, you practise with our opponents and rivals in this tournament because you have no other choice. Of course you have hitting partners, but you want to also play sets against top opponents.
“This feeling when you’re waiting for the groups to come out to know who you can practise with from the other group, to not practise with your opponents — that’s a lot of fun.
“From the first match, you’re going to play a tough opponent. There is a special energy about this tournament and I absolutely love it, and I hope to show my best tennis. I’m feeling confident, but you never know before the first match.”
So, who will walk away with trophy?
“I cannot answer this question because I hope it’s me,” Medvedev said with a smile. “But I’m not the kind of guy that’s going to be like, ‘It’s me winning this week.’
“It’s almost a superstition, that ‘Then he’s not going to do it.’ I hope I’m going to play some good tennis and try to make lt.”