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Plenty of online friendships have flourished throughout the pandemic, and world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev hopes one of his very own will help Team Russia defend their ATP Cup title with the late addition of 21-year-old Alexander Shevchenko.

Quizzed on how well he knows his teammates ahead of the Sydney tournament, the reigning US Open champion admitted he was only meeting Shevchenko in person for the first time this week.

“With Alexander we are really good virtual friends because we play a lot of PlayStation together, but it is going to be the first time I meet him in real life.”

Ranked outside the Top 300, Shevchenko two two smaller ITF tournaments in 2021, making the ATP Cup the biggest stage of his young career.

“I know him only virtually, but he seems really funny and easy going and we were texting a lot in the past few days because I was helping him with his visa as he needed to get it within one or two days,” Medvedev said. “He is really happy to come and is a great kid.”

Medvedev is poised to lead Team Russia into its first Group stage match against France on Sunday, opening against Ugo Humbert while countryman Roman Safiullin will take on Arthur Rinderknech.