Daniil Medvedev's triumphant return to the Rolex Shanghai Masters brings with it a flood of fond memories from his remarkable 2019 campaign. While four years may have passed since that epic showdown in China, Medvedev's recollections of that time remain vivid, providing a wellspring of motivation as he embarks on his journey to defend his title in Shanghai.
In 2019, Medvedev etched his name in tennis history by vanquishing Alexander Zverev in the championship match, capping off a sensational run on the hard courts. During this incredible stretch, he clinched his first two ATP Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai, and he also reached his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open. At the age of 27, Medvedev's Shanghai triumph served as a pivotal moment, validating that his surge of success was not a fleeting phenomenon.
Reflecting on those pivotal moments, Medvedev remarked, "This title is etched in my memory. I managed to reach six finals in a row, including three Masters 1000s and a Grand Slam. At the time, it was a colossal achievement for me, one that I hadn't anticipated or even imagined."
Shanghai held a special place in Medvedev's heart, as it was the tournament where he answered the lingering doubts, both from others and himself, about his ability to consistently perform at a high level. He continued, "After that fantastic summer in the US, everyone, including myself, was questioning whether I could continue to play at a high level and perhaps win another title. Well, I proved that I could. I fell in love with the tournament and the city, and it provided me with a substantial boost in confidence for the future."
Medvedev's Hard Court Dominance
In 2023, Medvedev stands as the Tour leader with an impressive 42 wins on hard courts, with four of his five ATP Tour victories this season coming on his favored surface. Despite his recent loss to Jannik Sinner in the China Open final, Medvedev remains satisfied with the consistency of his performances on hard courts. He expressed, "Apart from a few exceptions like the Australian Open, Toronto, and Cincinnati, which weren't the best for me this year, I've played exceptionally well on hard courts throughout the season. Hopefully, I can conclude the year on the same high note."
As he gears up for the Nitto ATP Finals, which he has now qualified for five consecutive times, Medvedev exudes a sense of calm and confidence. Historically, this part of the season has been kind to him, with six of his 20 tour-level titles won during post-US Open events. Remarkably, Medvedev's body remains resilient despite participating in a staggering 72 matches so far in 2023.
Medvedev shared his thoughts on his current state, saying, "It's never easy, but sometimes, the better you play, the more confidence you have, and the more you can push yourself. Right now, I feel great, playing at my best, and relishing my return to China. I'm eager to continue this journey here in Shanghai and see where it takes me."
As Medvedev takes on Cristian Garin in his Shanghai opener, tennis enthusiasts around the world eagerly await to witness if he can recreate the magic of 2019 and add another illustrious chapter to his storied career.