Daniil Medvedev said he tried to use the extra time away from the court to his advantage after Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian players from the grass court major in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The world number one returned to action in Los Cabos last week where he won four straight matches without dropping a set to claim his first title of the year on Saturday and said he feels extra prepared for the hard court season.
“You have to appreciate it because I definitely couldn’t change the decision of Wimbledon. I have to follow the rules,” he told reporters at the Canadian Open in Montreal on Monday.
“If you focus on the negative part. For sure I wanted to play Wimbledon, I wanted to do well there. I always want to be in the biggest tournaments and try to play good.
“You can just stay in this circle of, oh, my God, I was not able to be there.”
The 26-year-old Moscow native said he got in some extra rest after his disappointing quarterfinal loss at the Mallorca Open in late June and is brimming with confidence.
“I’ve made a very good preparation block for the US Open Series, which normally you cannot do because you play Wimbledon. I was able to do it. Feeling 100% physically, mentally ready. Really happy with Los Cabos for sure with the title.”
While he and other Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Flushing Meadows this year, the players will do so under a neutral flag. Russia has called its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation.”
Medvedev said the neutral flag does not bother him.
“No, not much, to be honest, because for me what matters is playing tennis. I really enjoy my job. Yeah, again, it’s about following the rules.
“The rule at one point was very clear that we have to play under neutral flag. Me, I’m still Daniil Medvedev. I still want to win big titles, win big matches, or small matches. It doesn’t change.”
Medvedev begins his title defense at the Masters 1000 tournament on Wednesday.
Wawrinka and plenty of rain fall at Canadian Open
Stan Wawrinka’s attempts to get his comeback season off the ground took another hit on Monday as the three-time major champion fell 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Emil Ruusuvuori in the rain-delayed opening round of the Canadian Open in Montreal.
Wawrinka, 37, missed the clay, grass and hardcourt season last year following surgery on his left foot and since returning in March has suffered a slew of first round exits.
The Swiss former world number three played solid tennis but was unable to overcome hard court specialist Ruusuvuori, who smashed a forehand winner on match point to advance.
Next up for the Ruusuvuori is a second round clash with Hubert Hurkacz, who the Finn defeated in Washington last week for the biggest win of his career.
Karen Khachanov came out on the winning side in a sloppy three-set match against Francisco Cerundolo, where the players made a combined 110 unforced errors compared to just 45 winners.
The Russian has played well at the tournament in the past, reaching the semi-finals in 2018 and 2019.
In other first round action, 21-year-old American Jenson Brooksby made quick work of Alexander Bublik with a 6-2 6-3 win and Slovak Alex Molcan outlasted Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(1) 6-4.
Heavy rain delayed the start of the Masters 1000 tournament for hours and forced the postponement of Andy Murray’s highly anticipated first round match against Taylor Fritz to Tuesday.
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