It is a time that does not seem so distant. Yet, considering how far Daniil Medvedev has come since then, one would think it was ages ago. It was a day in December 2017. Precisely in Lannion in Brittany. Daniil Medvedev became French team champion at the age of 21 with the Villa Primrose club, with among others Mickaël Llodra, Jérémy Chardy and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The winner of the US Open 2021 was even dismissed for three years in Bordeaux from 2017 to 2019.
“He was at the academy of Jean-René Lisnard in Cannes [depuis l’âge de 14 ans] who is a very good friend, explains club director Jean-Baptiste Perlant, I was looking for a player to strengthen the team and he had a good little potential that I had spotted during our tournament (an ATP Challenger 125). This is how the Russian then 65th in the world ended up landing on the banks of the Garonne. And at the time no one imagined him winning a Grand Slam tournament and reaching second place in the world:
“I never imagined for a moment that Daniil [Medvedev] gets to this level. For me he couldn’t go much higher because he was way too nervous. He was expressing his frustration and his emotions way too much on the court. He couldn’t manage them at all, ”says Jean-Baptiste Perlant. The same goes for Edouard Roger-Vasselin who would not have bet a kopeck on his partner: “If I had been told that four years ago, I absolutely would not have believed it! “
“He couldn’t even play doubles because of his volley”
To justify this feeling of the time, the two men also advance the tennis level of the Russian. For Jean-Baptiste Perlant, “he had big gaps and for me, that was a limit to his progress. He was very inconstant, he made a lot of faults especially in forehand whereas today, he does hardly any more. His backhand was good but he became exceptional as his serve. Most importantly, he didn’t have a good hand at all. “
So much so that Daniil Medvedev “could not even play in doubles because of his volley” according to Edouard Roger-Vasselin: “It was he himself who did not want to play when he was number 1 in the team. “! We therefore understand better why many at the club admit to being “amazed” by what he has been doing for several months. “It’s completely crazy”, even admits Jean-Baptiste Perlant.
Daniil Medvedev is the new bad boy of the circuit? via @20minutesSport https://t.co/AS5RjUZrea
— 20 Minutes Sport (@20minutesSport) September 6, 2019
The player has become a war machine, but the man has remained the same, sometimes between extravagance and unconsciousness, like his celebration during his victory on the courts of Flushing Meadows, ” This trait of madness, he always had it ”recalls the Bordeaux leader. “He was a little crazy guy with a very big character in 2017. I must admit he made us laugh on the pitch! But it feels good to have players like that, ”said Daniil Medvedev’s former team captain.
Edouard Roger-Vasselin even remembers “having found some tips to make him laugh and relax him on the pitch”. The ex 35th world recalls that this attitude, not necessarily “very clean” with many broken rackets, “also shows the character of the player and his desire to be ultra-efficient on every point”.
Soon number 1 in the world?
Today, even if the Russian has made “enormous progress on his attitude and his game” dixit Perlant, he remains “a really atypical guy” for ERV. The one who “loves to play video games until the end of the night”, according to his former teammate at Villa Primrose, keeps in touch. “We must not forget that he speaks French very well, almost fluently. He was greatly appreciated here and for a long time he continued to participate in our WhatsApp group when he no longer played with us and was moving into another world, ”recalls Jean-Baptiste Perlant. If Medvedev were to ask for news on the squad again, now would not be the time to chamber him on his technique at the net.
The Top 10 of the ATP ranking. pic.twitter.com/6BC59pv7o6
— Mag Bess (@mag_bess) September 13, 2021