Clay-phobic Daniil Medvedev will be hunting down a career-first victory at the Rome Masters when he opens as third seed.

The Russian has lost in the first round at previous appearances here in 2018 and 2019. 

But after breaking his duck on the Madrid clay, Medvedev is aiming for similar personal success at the Foro Italico.

The event will be crowd-free due to Italian COVID regulations, with the stands of the Campo Centrale looking especially barren as ATP play got underway on Sunday.

“It’s just a bit tougher for me to win matches on clay than maybe on hard courts, but have a really tough opponent no matter who wins the first match against

(Miomir) Kecmanovic and (Aslan) Karatsev,” Medvedev said.

“Hopefully I can at least make this first step and then get the confidence more and more and then maybe do something more.

“Every time I play first (pre-French Open) tournaments on clay it’s really tough

on my body – my game is not adapted to it

“I have to force my body, my shots, my muscles to do something they are not used to. 

“Physically and mentally it’s very tough, so I need time to adapt.”

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