Making each shot count, Daniil Medvedev backing up early Top 10 status

Making each shot count, Daniil Medvedev backing up early Top 10 status

Driven by the mentality of needing to put every ball in the court, the Russian has reached successive finals since joining the upper echelon of the ATP rankings.

Russian Daniil Medvedev is backing up his ranking. The 23-year-old has reached back-to-back finals in Washington and Montreal, his first events since breaking into the Top 10. 

The 23-year-old is currently ranked No. 9, also winning the ATP event at Sofia and reaching finals at Brisbane and Barcelona. His backhand is very steady and deep, though he won't call it the best on the circuit.

“We always have to talk about [No. 1 ] Novak [Djokovic]. He's I think considered to be one of the best backhands in the history of tennis,” Medvedev said, having split his two meetings with Djokovic this season.

“Actually when I play him, I think we challenge each other a lot on the backhand. We're both good at it. But still everything depends on the energy, on the shape you are in. For example, if I'm not in good shape, my backhand won't work as good also. I try not to think about it. I try to do my best to [have] one of the best backhands on tour. I hope it works.”

Getty Images.

Medvedev's flat strokes are unusual for the men's game these days, and he can be very consistent until he has an opportunity to strike. But he likes to rally.

“I think except of course my serve, the biggest challenge for my opponents is that I'm really good at putting the balls back in play. That's what I'm trying to do,” Medvedev said.

“You need to put it in the court no matter how hard it is. That's kind of my mentality. That's the toughest for my opponent. Still I'm able to play aggressive, if I need to. I'm able to have different styles in my game.”

In Montreal, Medvedev took down No. 4 Dominic Thiem before adding a second Top 10 victory over compatriot Karen Khachanov, the world No. 8, in the semifinals Saturday. He'll look to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title over defending champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday's championship match.