Playing a tennis match is like fighting a war, with Russian players the scrappy underdogs.
That’s the take from ATP No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who will line up in the Miami Masters quarter-finals against Roberto Bautista Agut.
The 25-year-old Medvedev has been on an upward career trajectory, winning eight titles since spring, 2019 and knocking on the door of the top ranking held by Serb Novak Djokovic..
The Moscow-born player based in Monte Carlo says that the complex Russian character plays a huge role in his tennis.
“We feel like everything is against us. If you’re Russian, you’re like, ‘everything is against me but I’m going to go through it, I’m going to fight through it.’
“That’s what makes sometimes me go crazy on the court – and that’s not good.”
Medvedev comfortably compares the tennis court with a field of battle: “When we are pushed to the wall, then there is no way back, like many wars in Russian history.
“People who were fighting against Russia would come to Moscow (Napoleon, Hitler) and basically think it’s finished.
“But we won the war(s). Russians are, ‘Okay, that’s enough. You know, we’re gonna fight back.'”
Medvedev added that his national determination can come in useful in winning a match.
“This is a mentality when I want to beat someone, I feel the Russian mentality.”