Top-ranked Russian star Daniil Medvedev was looking forward to his first foray into top-tier ATP Finals at the end of 2017. He was also eager to play at the U.S. Open for the first time. But on Saturday, the No.1 seed pulled out of the event, the week-long men’s elite tennis tournament held in New York, citing fatigue. Instead, the standout 21-year-old will spend his time training in Florida ahead of the season-ending ATP Finals.
Medvedev was already scheduled to play only one match at the U.S. Open: against No.10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round. He made his first appearance at the Open in 2011 and was competing in only his second Grand Slam event in New York on Saturday. He lost 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 to 17-year-old Germany’s Alexander Zverev. That showed he was not prepared for this, and he has also been under the watchful eye of his doctor.
The good news for Medvedev is that he can still compete with the world’s best players for many years to come. Even if he doesn’t win a major event, he can always break back into the ATP’s top 10 and then the top 10 again. His ranking will continue to move up, and if he opts to keep playing as he has been doing, he could even become the world’s top-ranked player sometime in the next few years.
His upcoming campaign will be tough. First he’ll return to the ATP Finals for the first time since 2013. He will also be aiming to win a third ATP title at the season-ending event, which starts in Singapore on Nov. 8. He could also play for the world No. 1 spot in the end-of-season ATP Race and FedEx Cup. The pressure will definitely be on.
Medvedev is back on course to get his career-high ranking sometime in the next few months. Injuries plagued him the past few years but he’s now back to full health and is showing glimpses of the talent that made him Russia’s best player in his teens. He has played on the other big courts – the WTA Tour and the Masters 1000, for example – and has also experimented with fusing power with finesse. But it will be interesting to see if his recent changes in approach to the game, especially a more aggressive game, work in the ATP’s Grand Slam tournaments.
There’s no reason to think he can’t play in all the major events going forward. In fact, it’s pretty clear that he will. Medvedev is still learning about how to win big tournaments but there are signs that he is going the right way. If he can keep up his improvement, he could be the star of the tournament in 2021.