Miami (AFP), March 26 – Daniil Medvedev is thriving under pressure to be the man to beat after dispatching Andy Murray in straight sets at the Miami Open on Saturday to get closer to regaining his world No.
The Russian seed served superbly against the 34-year-old three-time Grand Slam champion to earn a straightforward 6-4, 6-2 triumph at Hard Rock Stadium and next faces Spaniard Pedro Martinez.
Medvedev lost his No. 1 ranking after just 18 days after failing to go deep in Indian Wells, but will regain it once again from Novak Djokovic’s absence if he reaches the semi-finals in Florida.
With Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both out, the 26-year-old is the favorite to win his maiden Miami Open title and his performance against Murray showed he’s in the kind of form that will cause the rest of the bunch a multitude of problems.
“Of course the guys who go against you will be more motivated if you’re the top seed,” Medvedev told AFP.
“It might be the biggest win of their season, but I like being in that position. The more pressure you have, the more you expect of yourself.
“At the beginning of my career, I would be really happy to be in the third round for the first time, but now I want to do more. So yes, there is definitely more pressure but also more motivation to continue to do well. .
Medvedev was delighted to briefly reach the top of men’s tennis, but the Russian is determined to ensure his next stint at the top isn’t so short.
“It felt good to touch him,” smiled Medvedev. “Getting to No. 1 is something no one can take away from me, even if it was for two weeks.
“But when I lost it, I just went back to the training ground and knew I had to get to the semis in Miami to get it back again.
“I have a lot of motivation to stay at No. 1 for a long time.”
– Murray watches Wimbledon –
While Medvedev is at the top of his game, Murray is still looking for answers.
The Scot, playing with a metal hip after two surgeries to fix the problem that nearly forced him into retirement, has reintroduced Czech legend Ivan Lendl to his coaching staff for the third time and hopes he will be able to stop a race that saw him fail to back up. first-round wins in his last six tournaments.
“My level of tennis wasn’t good enough to win matches like that, but Ivan will shed some light on the right way to play,” said Murray, who will spend time working with Lendl in Florida before jumping. the clay court swing of the ATP Tour. to ensure he is ready for Wimbledon later this summer.
“I don’t think I’ve been practicing the right things for about 18 months, it’s hard to undo that space.
“That’s one of the reasons why I’m taking a long period of training to change some of these things and hopefully my game will be more competitive again against the top players.
“I feel like I played better here than in the previous tournament in Indian Wells, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”