WATCH: Daniil Medvedev has been in rare form in the press room at Wimbledon.

The first day you come [to Wimbledon] you're like, ‘Wow, that must be the best place in the world.’ Every flower seems to be in the right order, the right color. The locker rooms are unbelievable. Food is great ... The only bad thing, when you lose, you go crazy. Daniil Medvedev, two days before the start of the current Wimbledon tournament, on his affection for the tournament and the frustrations of trying to break the grass-court code.

Medvedev, the No. 3 seed at Wimbledon, knows a thing or two about flipping out, and not just as a result of falling short of winning at The Championships.

His notoriety was established at the US Open in 2019, following his fourth-round contretemps with a hot-blooded crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium. Just 23 at the time and armed with the arrogance of the young and talented, Medvedev reveled in trolling and taunting the fans in Gotham, positioning himself as the bad apple sharing the same basket as the gentlemen of the game’s Big 4.

A lot has changed since then. Despite occasional disputes with officials or spectators and outbursts of anger, Medvedev’s career as an outlaw has been a giant flop. Instead, he has slowly emerged as a model ATP citizen working on a tennis ambassadorship.

Many of Medvedev’s peers are masters of saying nothing interesting in their press conferences, sometimes at great length. By contrast, Medvedev is an able and thoughtful communicator, so much so that you might suspect he’s getting paid by the word. He handles any subject that comes up, person or professional, with a rational, logic-seeking mindset. He professes to bear no grudge against Wimbledon for barring Russian and Belarusian players last year. His uncomplaining attitude toward the lockout (along with his comments on Russian’s unprovoked war on Ukraine) even hints of a measure of sympathy for the All England Club.

All he would say on the subject this week was, “So talking about last year. I follow the rules, so I couldn't play. I spent the time with my family. We had a good vacation.”

Medvedev respects the tennis fan base, but he will still joust with spectators and officials because he believes in being authentic: “The more I play tennis, the more I feel like if you try to fake something to win the fans over they are probably going to feel it,” he said after one of his matches this week. “Maybe if not straight away, but sooner or later. [So] You're going to, like, drown in these lies because you're not going to remember where you lied the last time. If you tell the truth, it's easier.”


Unlike some of his peers, Medvedev also takes the task of understanding and mastering all the game’s surfaces as an interesting challenge, a kind of Rubik’s Cube, rather than a burden. He has already matched the best Wimbledon result of his career by gaining the fourth round, but he’s set his sights much higher. He'll face Chris Eubanks in the quarterfinals.

It’s a challenge that he approaches with a rational, almost scientific attitude. Small wonder that Medvedev even looks more like a postgraduate student at some research institute than a tennis pro. For now, though, his prime area of inquiry is tennis on turf.

“Let's say I still didn't kind of find the exact key to grass court, which I somehow managed to find this year on clay,” Medvedev said, referring to his solid performances in Europe leading into Roland Garros. “I said it after Monte Carlo and Madrid, I felt that I was building something up. On grass, I don't feel it that much.”

Medvedev, who prefers hard courts above all others, is a man who believes in process, with a healthy appetite for problem solving. He initially thought that his naturally flat strokes were an asset at Wimbledon—until the club began booking him on Centre Court or No. 1, which to his mind are much slower.

“I feel like people who actually spin the ball are actually easier on grass than playing flat. That's a little bit surprising.”


Medvedev has matched his best-ever Wimbledon by getting through to the fourth round.

Medvedev has matched his best-ever Wimbledon by getting through to the fourth round.

The Inside Baseball approach to tennis on grass is fine, but it only takes an analyst so far. There are just too many players who punch above their weight class, too many who struggle for no good reason, too many contradictions in the stats. Medvedev has evolved directly out of the latter group.

“There are some players that don't do so well on grass,” Medvedev said after an impressive second-round, straight-sets win over grass savvy French veteran Adrian Mannarino. “Usually it's year after year. When I see them play, it's strange because their game should be suited well for grass. Sometimes maybe [it’s] the beliefs, maybe I had this [lack of belief] on clay. When you don't believe you can do well on the surface, of course it hurts you a little bit.”

Casper Ruud is a good example of an unbeliever. Seeded No. 4, Ruud was upset in the second round by British journeyman Liam Broady. After losing, he lamented, “I don't dare to play the same shots that I do on hard court and clay in a way. That's why I get a little tentative. Sometimes I'm not hitting the shots like I want to. It's just because I'm really scared and I have to take all these extra steps.”

Yet in the eyes of many, Ruud moves so lightly, on such nimble feet, that he ought to be a contender at Wimbledon.

Medvedev has come far since his misadventures at the US Open of 2019. When he does have a controversial episode, he owns it. He’s aware of his shortcomings and is thankful to be back in the hunt in London. He said that he wants to stick around, “give back” to the fans. Just what did he mean by that?

“Not getting crazy and let's say—how can I explain it—not being probably a selfish kid on the court. Sometimes I can be,” he said. “I'm going to try to give back to the people here in Wimbledon and just try to show some good tennis. Even if I don't leave the court [before the finish of] the tournament.”