Medvedev says double triumph late last year laid platform for rise

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Back-to-back triumphs at the Paris Masters and ATP Finals last year convinced Daniil Medvedev that he belongs among the world’s best, the Russian said on Friday as he prepares to defend his title in the season finale.

The 25-year-old used the platform for a superb 2021 in which he made his breakthrough on the grandest stage, winning a first major at the US Open where he beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the final to deny the Serb a rare calendar Grand Slam.

World number two Medvedev lost to Djokovic in the Paris Masters title clash last Sunday and will look to continue their intriguing rivalry at the ATP Finals in Turin.

“Coming into Paris last year I was feeling completely out of shape and out of confidence,” Medvedev told reporters. “I wasn’t sure what I could achieve in the last two tournaments and then I found my confidence, won both. In the ATP finals I managed to beat Novak, Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem.

“Three tough matches, so it was amazing… After you achieve it, you’re back… you say ‘OK I’m still able to do it’ because we had the pandemic where everybody didn’t play for a long time. I had problems with my body, so coming back wasn’t easy.

“There was this ‘down moment’ where I wasn’t sure about myself and these two tournaments brought back the confidence… made me sure that I’d be able to beat the best players in the world. That’s what you have to know to be one of them.”

Medvedev opens the singles action on Sunday against Polish debutant Hubert Hurkacz and will meet Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini in the Red Group.