First-Time Winner Spotlight: Daniil Medvedev
How does it feel to be standing with your first ATP World Tour trophy?
It's an amazing feeling; (tennis players) work all their lives to get (a title), and I'm one of the lucky ones who got one. I'm not going to stop, I'm going to continue to work toward getting more titles.
Could you believe at 21 you are already a winner on the ATP World Tour? Was this a goal of yours, growing up to win an ATP title?
It's very tough to say because growing up, I never thought I'd be a professional player in the Top 100. I went about it step-by-step, I never made any one big step. I was going through the Futures, the Challengers... last year I played a lot of ATP World Tour tournaments and one final (Chennai) and now, finally, I'm getting my first ATP trophy. It would have been tough to imagine that, even two years ago.
You, (Karen) Khachanov and (Andrey) Rublev are three of the top young Russians on the ATP World Tour and last season all broke into the Top 50. Talk about the success of Russian tennis and the future.
It's amazing because I'm the last of the three to win an ATP World Tour title and I'm very happy to have caught them. All our lives, we've been playing tennis, all our lives we've been competing against each other. Of course, there were other (Russian players) before us but it's just the three of us right now. The competition between us makes us better. It makes me happy when they do well and of course I hope they're happy when I do well. It's amazing and we're going to do big things later, I think.
You have had a lot of support in your young career. Who are the people that have allowed you to get this level and you would like to acknowledge?
I want to thank all my coaches, who I've been working with throughout my life. There weren't a lot of them, but they made a big impact. My first coach, a woman named Ekaterina Kryuchkova... the most important people in my career, my parents, Sergey and Olga, because they were always trying to find the money to support my tennis, even when at times it was amazingly hard. They were with me from the beginning, always believing in me, never saying bad things to me when I lost and that's just amazing. I want to thank the tennis centre where I'm working now, the Elite Tennis Centre in Cannes and the head coach, Jean-Rene Lisnard. Right now, I'm working full-time with my coach Gilles Cervara. We were working together before but we started working full-time just this year and we already have a title, so that's just amazing. I also want to thank my girlfriend Daria, who has a big impact on me.
What are your interests off the court and away from tennis?
My biggest hobby, it's something I don't exactly care to admit… it's PlayStation (video games). I spend all my free time on it, so it's my biggest hobby.
Watch Incredible Hot Shot: Medvedev Breaks Through De Minaur's Defences
How was it playing in front of a crowd cheering so loudly for the home favourite Alex de Minaur?
It's very tough, of course, but the thing is, I think it works both ways. If the crowd goes really crazy, sometimes it can get both players going. Even if the cheering is against you, you don't hear they're against you, you just feel the energy, so it can pump you up as well. But I'm sure he wouldn't have made that comeback in the third set without the crowd. It was tough, but I'm really happy to have managed this. It's a good lesson ahead of the Australian Open, where I play Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round.
It seems like this is a really big breakthrough week for both you and for de Minaur.
Yeah, Alex, he's just an amazing player. I remember I practised with him two or three years ago, in the club where I practise in France, and we played a tie-break where the loser had to clean the court. I was the only one serving and he was 15 years old at the time. He beat me and I said to my coach, "Wow; he's really good". And now I just played him in the final of an ATP World Tour tournament. At 18, his age, I was playing Futures. If he continues this way, he's going to be an amazing player.
Watch Trophy Ceremony: Medvedev Receives Trophy, Praises De Minaur