WATCH: Medvedev caught up with the Tennis Channel Live Desk at the Western & Southern Open.

NEW YORK—Veteran players of the 2015 video game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege are often surprised to learn that the operator administering adrenaline shots or laying down barbed wire is none other than tennis’ own Daniil Medvedev.

“I mainly play with my Russian friends, but sometimes it happens that you can connect with someone random and talk to them,” explains the 2021 US Open champion and newly-minted R6S Game Ambassador. “After a while, they’ll ask me about myself, and I know most of them don’t care too much about sports, so I’ll tell them I play tennis. One of them asked me if I can make a living playing tennis and I was like, ‘If you’re good, you can!’ He asked me if I was any good and I said, ‘I’m not bad.’ At the time, I was either No. 1 or No. 2 in the world.

“That’s kind of what I like about this: when I’m playing, I’m just another guy.”

But even when Medvedev swaps out his racquet for a signature controller, he can’t help but be exceptional. According to R6S developers Ubisoft, the ATP’s world No. 3 ranks in the game’s Top 3%—Top 2.9%, to be exact, earning him a Diamond ranking—among active players. In a meta twist, users will have the chance to play as Daniil in 2024, complete with a signature weapon skin, gear, and charm.

“We’re proud and excited to work with Daniil,” said Mohammed Benhenneda, Director of Business Strategy. “His creativity and strategically minded play are what makes him so exciting both in tennis and in top ranked matches of Rainbow Six Siege,” “He’s the perfect ambassador, representing what makes Siege different than any other game out there.”

Not bad for a guy who only picked up first-person shooters to play with his friends.


“I played CS: GO when I was much younger but I wasn’t good at it,” Medvedev recalls. “It was mouse and keyboard.

“But they were like, ‘You should play with us,’ and I was thinking, ‘No, I’ll be so bad, there’s no need to even play.’ But I started playing with them and I never stopped because I really love this game.

“We had some moments that we’ll never forget, especially when we were still bad players and just laughing.”

Flanked by an army of buddies from his junior days—“They haven’t made Top 100, so I’ll give them some advertisement: Bogdan Bobrov, Niko Muradashvili, Artur Shakhnubaryan, Nazar Khrustalev”—Medvedev puts his tactical mind to work in a game that boasts 84 million downloads, defending territory, disabling diffusers and rescuing hostages.

“Like in tennis, I’m on the counter-attacking side where I try to be aggressive but still find sneaky spots,” he smiles, contrasting his style to fellow ATP gamer Alexander Shevchenko, an all-out attacker he first met playing R6S. “It’s a very strategic game, but some people will try to play it like other games where they rush and try to kill straight away. I’m actually really good against players like this because I can find the sneaky spots where they can’t see me, and I can kill them when they least expect it.”

Gamers will often move on from a title after exploring all it has to offer, but R6S’s ever-evolving roster of operators and maps—which updates multiple times a year—have kept Medvedev and Co. coming back, logging in nearly 3000 hours as the game approaches its 10-year anniversary.

“It’s changing non-stop, so that’s what makes it fun. It’s constantly improving, and when you play, you never quite know what it wants.”

Though it’s easy to imagine this an all-consuming habit, one he famously showed off to R6S developers after Roland Garros, Medvedev clarifies the headset only comes on when he’s not playing tournaments.


Medvedev walked me through the intricacies of Rainbow Six Siege, which kicked off its Operation Heavy Mettle season this week.

Medvedev walked me through the intricacies of Rainbow Six Siege, which kicked off its Operation Heavy Mettle season this week.

“The first time I took my console with me was to a Futures in France. I think we’d been playing Rainbow: Six Siege with my friends for about six months to a year. I think Friday or Saturday evening, we played non-stop ‘til 7 in the morning. We weren’t even tired, but my friends were like, ‘We have to go to sleep now,’ and I was like, ‘Ok, I’m going to practice!’ I had practice at 8 in the morning, went to breakfast and practice was very tough, and then I lost first round of the tournament.

“Now with what I achieved, I can admit this,” he laughs, “but that was when I decided it would probably be better not to bring consoles with me to tournaments.”

Medvedev brings a disciplined approach to gaming at home, claiming to keep his play time to evenings after daughter Alisa is asleep.

“I’m not someone who thinks children shouldn’t have phones or games before a certain age, but when she’s three I don’t think I’m going to be giving her the headset or controller! I’ll probably teach her tennis first because she loves it already, all the racquets and balls.”

Despite the heavy artillery and impressive kill counts, R6S indeed brings out a lighter Daniil Medvedev, one who eagerly assists in manipulating my controller as the two of us attempt to fight terrorists advancing on the aptly named Café Dostoyevsky.


Medvedev will have the opportunity to play in his own R6S skin in 2024.

Medvedev will have the opportunity to play in his own R6S skin in 2024.

“There are other games like FIFA where you get frustrated a lot,” he says, making an oblique reference to the game that once inspired his 2021 US Open celebration. “There are some things in other games, like scripts, that you can’t control. I suppose that’s similar to real sports, where you think the guy is going to your backhand but he goes to your forehand.

“I would say this game is purely tactical skill, and it’s all about yourself. So, if you’ve lost the game, you know you didn’t do well enough. That’s very different from tennis in that, there are matches that can be so close, like a tiebreaker in the fifth set. You can think, ‘I played well, but got a little bit unlucky.’ With this game, that is rarely the case. That makes it less frustrating and fun to play. If I lose, I know I just have to be better next time.”

If all goes well in New York, it will be at least a few weeks before Medvedev gets in another round—and perhaps even make his Twitch streaming debut. While I wish I could have been a better challenge, I can claim some bragging rights: earning one more kill than Mr. Top 2.9% on my first try.

“Beginner’s luck,” Medvedev teased.

Rainbow Six Siege is now available to play on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, the Xbox One family of consoles, Xbox Series X | S, and Windows PC via Ubisoft Connect. Rainbow Six Siege is included with Ubisoft+, Ubisoft’s subscription service, which is available for Xbox, Amazon Luna and PC.