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Once Clay Fodder, Daniil Medevedev is Suddenly a Clay Guru in Paris

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday June 4, 2021

He’s said it once, he’s said it twice, and after his 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Reilly Opelka in Paris, Daniil Medvedev is saying it again: “I’m enjoying myself in Roland Garros. I don’t hide it.”

Tennis Express

The Russian, who had never won a round in his four previous appearances at the French Open, has now reached the second week for the first time. Since his pre-tournament press conference the No.2 seed has been raving about the tennis balls (he likes them) and the fact that he feels he can just relax and play the same type of tennis that he plays on a hard court.

“I feel really hopeful,” Medvedev said after his first-round win over Alexander Bublik. “As I say, you could see it today in the match, I’m feeling that here, at least this year with this weather, with these balls, I can play like on hard courts. It doesn’t feel different than Australian Open for me coming into this tournament. Now when I’m coming to these big tournaments feeling like this, I know I’m capable of doing big things.”

After his victory over the No.32-seeded American, Medvedev reiterated the same feelings.

“Clay in Roland Garros feels great this year,” he said. “Especially the Wilson balls. Said it from the beginning. I think it’s going to stay till the end of the tournament. As I said after the first round, now I know to beat me, guys have to play good. I mean, this is always possible. This was not a question. It’s better to feel like this when you know you can lose to yourself just playing bad.”

Medvedev, who somehow managed to break Opelka’s serve five times on sixteen opportunities on Friday, will face Chile’s Cristian Garin in the round of 16. It will be his trickiest contest thus far, against a genuine clay-courter, but the Russian remains confident about his chances.

“I feel really hopeful,” Medvedev said. “As I say, you could see it today in the match, I’m feeling that here, at least this year with this weather, with these balls, I can play like on hard courts. It doesn’t feel different than Australian Open for me coming into this tournament. Now when I’m coming to these big tournaments feeling like this, I know I’m capable of doing big things.”

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