Daniil Medvedev opens up on how he used to battle ‘clay season depression’ in past

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Medvedev didn’t like much playing on clay but last year made his big breakthrough at the Rome Masters.

Daniil Medvedev reveals in the past he used to fall into “a clay season depression” but now things have changed and he has definitely fallen in love more with the surface after making his breakthrough on the dirt last year.

In the past, there were several occasions where Medvedev would very directly express his frustration and displeasure with the clay surface during his matches. With that being said, former world No. 1 Medvedev wasn’t hiding that he didn’t like or prefer playing on clay at all and it pretty much looked like he couldn’t wait for the clay season to finish.

But last year, Medvedev finally put up a good clay season as for the first time in his career he managed to clinch 10 wins during the clay season. Not only that the Russian managed to get to 10 clay wins on the main level for the first time, but the 28-year-old also lifted his first clay title in style at the Rome Masters.

Before a good 2023 season, Medvedev tried several times to motivate himself at the start of the clay season and convince himself he could do well but he would always end up “a little depressed.”

But now, things have changed and Medvedev is kicking off his clay season at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters in positive spirits.

“Like, two, three years ago it was always the same before the clay (season), like, ‘OK, let’s go,’ motivation, excited and then I come on clay and then I’m like a little depressed for a couple of days and then I tried to handle this,” Medvedev said in his pre-tournament.

“Now this year, it’s just like, ‘OK, it’s a change of surface; for sure you need to adapt your game and adapt your mentality some shots.’ But I’m trying to do my best and looking forward to the tournament.

“So so far, it’s been very, like, calm and good work process? So I’m looking forward. In the match everything can change to the good or to the bad, so let’s see how it goes.”

Medvedev hopes Gilles Simon can help him elevate his clay game

After finishing as runner-up at this year’s Australian Open, Medvedev revealed that he added former French tennis star Simon to his coaching staff to work alongside Gilles Cervara.

Simon, a former 14-time ATP champion and a former world No. 6, won five clay titles during his career and he also finished as runner-up at the 2008 Madrid Masters.

In his pre-tournament press conference, Medvedev sounded pretty happy about having someone like Simon during the clay season as he is optimistic the 39-year-old Frenchman can help him further elevate his game. While Simon won’t be with Medvedev in Monte Carlo or Madrid later this month, he and the Russian were able to get some notable job done on the practice in the last week.

“Gilles left yesterday. He was here for the preparation phase and will be in Rome and Roland Garros,” Medvedev said.

“He is an ex-player, a good player. Good tactically and was playing good on clay, so from his side he brings small details. So far it has been working well.

“It is me who plays on the court, so it is me who is the most important with execution and we just try to discuss some shots on clay which could be better. Some positions and tactical moments. It is not something crazy but small details and that is how it works in tennis. So far it is working well.”

Medvedev’s path to the Monte Carlo title

Medvedev, seeded at No. 4, has a first-round bye in Monte Carlo. In his Monte Carlo opener, the Russian could potentially have a tricky matchup as he could meet 2016 Monte Carlo runner-up Gael Monfils, who plays Jordan Thompson in the first round.

In the Monte Carlo round-of-16, Medvedev is projected to meet No. 15 seed Karen Khachanov while a projected quarterfinal sees him taking on fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev. On Saturday, there could be a rematch of this year’s Australian Open final if Medvedev and No. 2 seed Jannik Sinner meet in the Monte Carlo semifinal.

If Medvedev makes the final, he could very easily meet there No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic or third-seeded Carlos Alcaraz.

In 2019, Medvedev made his first deep clay run when he made the Monte Carlo semifinal. In the next couple of years, Medvedev opted to skip Monte Carlo and he didn’t play at the tournament again until last year, when he reached the quarterfinal.

The clay courts of Monte Carlo have been solid for Medvedev so far and there is no doubt that the 28-year-old Russian will be looking to make another good run in the Principality and start his clay season on a positive note.

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