Tennis

Medvedev eyeing fairy-tale run

Russian Medvedev says his game is suited to the grasscourts at Wimbledon

Russian Daniil Medvedev, fresh from upsetting world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the first round at Wimbledon yesterday morning (Singapore time), said he is targeting a run to the last eight at the All England Club.

The 21-year-old, who has just broken into the top 50 in the world, played with real swagger in his 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over the fifth seed and that confidence was evident when he talked to reporters after the win on his Wimbledon debut.

"I didn't even look at my draw, like after the second round, so I don't know who I will play if I will be winning," he said.

"But, after beating Stan, I mean, I feel good on grass. I will just try to play match by match, try to do my best, but I would say if I can reach a quarter-final, I would be happy."

Medvedev, who next faces 124th-ranked Belgian Ruben Bemelmans, was ranked world No. 99 at the start of the year, but a strong run of form has seen him rise to 49th.

Few people, however, expected him to upset his Swiss opponent, a three-time Grand Slam champion.

"First of all, it's my first Grand Slam win. So even I guess if I didn't beat Stan, it would be one of the biggest wins in my life.

"My first win over a top-10 player. I have no words to describe this. I guess this memory will be with me forever."

Medvedev showed few signs of nerves despite playing such a high-profile opponent on Centre Court in his first outing at the tournament.

But he conceded that, inside at least, there were some butterflies.

"Of course, it's a very strange feeling to go out there. It's like you have fear, you're tight, but also, you want to show your best," he said.

"You want to beat Stan Wawrinka on Centre Court so that people can know more about you."

"It was just something special. I don't know how to explain it," he added.

It is clear, though, that the Monte Carlo-based Medvedev has a strong belief in his ability on grass.

"I think my game suits it really well, because I don't have, like, a huge serve but it's quite strong and very precise," he said.

"So that's the best thing for grass, because with the grass, it goes faster than on hard or clay.

"Then I have a really flat game, which no one likes to play, because you have to put the ball up after my shots.

"I'm good at the key moments. So far, I have been good at these key moments.

"So, everything just makes me play well on grass, and that's my favourite surface."

SURPRISE

Asked whether he could pull off a surprise win at Wimbledon, Medvedev said with a smile: "I love grass. I play well on grass. I beat a lot of good guys on grass. I knew that I can do well here."

It was hard to tell how much of the stunning upset was down to Medvedev's ability to fire freely from both flanks and how much of it was down to Wawrinka's discomfort with a niggling knee injury.

Wawrinka, who reached last month's French Open final, will no doubt hope the memory of his sixth first-round Wimbledon exit will not linger.

He had struggled to find any sort of rhythm and was clearly bothered by the knee problem since the end of last year.

"I wasn't feeling the way I wanted to feel," he said.

"But I played against a great player who I think was confident today, was playing well, was playing faster.

"It was a tough loss." - REUTERS

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