Daniil Medvedev has started the new season in a great way. The 24-year-old from Moscow made a decisive contribution to propelling his national team beyond the ATP Cup group stage. The 2019 US Open finalist is using the team event to better prepare for the Australian Open, which will take the away next week in the beautiful setting of Melbourne Park.
The Russian had already given excellent signals in the last part of last year, embellished by his success at the Nitto ATP Finals in London after beating Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem. Winning a Grand Slam is the next goal of Medvedev, who had come close to a sensational comeback against Nadal in New York two editions ago.
Despite the ATP Cup and the tough training sessions, Daniil is perfectly aware that the players will come to the Happy Slam with less preparation than usual. In fact, all the athletes had to undergo two weeks of mandatory quarantine upon their arrival in Australia before being able to enjoy their freedom.
"The best players have been able to accomplish such a feat in the past. A few times, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic showed up at the Australian Open with no matches in their legs and still won the tournament," Medvedev explained.
"However, this is not true for everyone. For example, I need some matches at the start of the season to pick up the pace. In my case, the more I can play the better. It is not necessary to play 20 games to be ready for a Grand Slam, but it cannot be denied that the preparation was not ideal," he added.
According to former world number 1 Mats Wilander, the 2021 Australian Open could offer surprises: "Honestly, I don't see Novak Djokovic clearly favored over Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev. I believe the winner will come out of the names I mentioned.
It will also be necessary to pay close attention to injuries, since the players have not been able to play all the matches they would have liked."
ATP Melbourne 2021
The Great Ocean Road Open will be the first all-Italian final since 1988.
The seventh in history, the second outside Europe, among other things also the first on hard courts. Thanks to Stefano Travaglia and Jannik Sinner. The twenty-nine year old from the Marche region, who had started the season with the quarter-finals in Antalya, after the very tiring successes against Roberto Carballes Baena, Sam Querrey, Aleksandr Bublik and Hubert Hurkacz, also managed to overcome the fateful litmus test against Thiago Monteiro.
Realistically the least competitive of the package. Travaglia loses the first two games, yes, but he wins nine of the ten hits and from 6-3 3-1 he simply manages. Needless to say, it will be the first career final in the ATP Tour.
It will not be a first time for Jannik Sinner (former champion at the Next Gen Atp Finals and above all in Sofia a handful of months ago) back from the double commitment on Friday and with the gasoline hand worryingly close to zero.
Despite all the South Tyrolean talent, who wins the tie break of the first set thanks to the massive contribution of the service and who finds himself catapulted to the deciding set, he breaks off in the score at the start of the third with a splendid forehand recovery, cancels the four break points that puts on the plate in the following four rounds of service, but does not take advantage of a 30-0 advantage when called to serve for the match, but Sinner builds the point of 3-1 during the tie break with a backhand winning line, decisive blow both on 4-4 and on 5-4, and at the threshold of three hours of play it goes to 7-6 (4) 4-6 7-6 (4).
Daniel Evans and Felix Auger Aliassime will contend for the Gippsland Trophy (Murray River Open) title. Respectively winners over Jeremy Chardy - who had taken advantage of Stan Wawrinka's retirement - and Corentin Moutet.
The Canadian talented player will go in search of his first title in the major circuit after six consecutive defeats in the final collected between Rio (in 2019) and Cologne, obviously last year. Sinner, on an individual level he boasts 1 ATP title, out of two finals played, won in Sofia in 2020, thanks to which, at 19 years and 2 months, he became the youngest Italian tennis player to have won a tournament in the Open era.
 In the Grand Slam trials he reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2020, also in this case being the earliest tennis player in his country to go so far in a Major. He boasts 36th position as best ranking, reached on January 4, 2021, thanks to which he currently figures as the best placed tennis player among the Under 20s.