March 24, 2023

Daniil Medvedev returns to the US Open to defend his men's singles title and his position as World No. 1.
Daniil Medvedev has had a love-hate relationship with the US Open crowds — but not in that order. The World No. 1 drew the ire of the New York fans at the start of his 2019 title run, but won them over with his tennis and his wit by the time he pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets in an epic final.
As he returns to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the defending champion, Medvedev was asked to describe what endears him to fans. The honesty of his reply provided an answer in itself.
“It’s going to be a little bit harsh on myself, but I’m going to say [it],” he began, speaking at Friday’s US Open Media Day. “I do think if you look at Daniil Medvedev only on the tennis court, only as a tennis player, maybe it’s not that easy to like him or me as much because, I mean, my technique is a little bit odd.
“My game style is probably not the most flashiest, but that’s because I want to win. When I was young, when I was 18, I was hitting the ball as hard as I can. Maybe people would love it more, but I probably would not win a Grand Slam.”

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Instead, Medvedev feels his popularity stems more from his off-court personality.

“But I do feel like when I interact with my fans, if they know a little bit more of who I am in real life, they start to like me more,” he continued. “I would think my personality together with what I am on the tennis court, what I am straight afterwards in interviews or my personal life, is what makes some people a fan of Daniil Medvedev.”
After his breakthrough during the 2019 North American hard-court swing finished with a runner-up trophy in New York, Medvedev reached the 2020 US Open semi-finals before winning his maiden Grand Slam title with a straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic in last year’s final. Across those three years, he’s posted a 18-2 record.
“I love being back here,” he said. “I always loved the tournament itself, loved being here, loved the energy. Then for sure starting with 2019, I started also playing good here, which is important. I love coming back here. I feel straightaway at home in a way. I’m looking forward to playing next week. Really happy to be here.”
Despite debuting as World No. 1 in February, Medvedev has won just one title this season, earlier this month in Los Cabos. In order to hold onto the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, he may need to defend his US Open title, depending on other results.

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Medvedev has the honour of playing the opening match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, when he will take on American Stefan Kozlov. While he’s facing a home favourite, he’s sure to have plenty of support from the fans thanks to the rapport he’s built.
“I feel like in New York I have a special relationship with the crowd,” he said. “I have no idea how it’s going to go this year, but I’m happy to be here and happy to experience whatever’s going to happen.”

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