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Mr Nice Guy Medvedev heads into final eight

  • Simon Cambers

There have been times over the past few years when Daniil Medvedev has been something of a Jekyll and Hyde figure, his occasional fractious interactions with a fan mixed with charming words when he was in a good mood.

At Australian Open 2024, however, the 27-year-old has been charm personified, helped by his warm, entertaining chats on court with Jim Courier after each match, which have helped him become a fan favourite at Melbourne Park.

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Courier, whose relaxed manner and detailed research immediately puts players at ease, has brought the best out of Medvedev, who has been able to show his true character.

Even when he’s pushed hard, as he was in his 6-3 7-6(4) 5-7 6-1 win over the valiant Portuguese Nuno Borges in the fourth round on Monday, Medvedev has been completely relaxed and entertained the crowd with his responses. And he’s enjoying it as much as the crowd is.

“I love it,” Medevedev said. “I love his questions. They're always different. I wonder if he prepares them like the night before or just before. It's always fun talking to him.

“After Margaret Court interview, which I found maybe even funnier than today, I told him I hope that he likes interviewing me as much as I like being interviewed by him. It's a mutual connection. He seems like a super nice guy. I really like talking to him.

“I feel like when I talk to him, people can see this side of my personality because it's a little bit different than [when] I'm on the tennis court. I try to be focused. Also, I can get nervous. Then we see a guy that doesn't really talk much and only can get crazy. Even when I get crazy, I try to focus again, so I'm silent again. Maybe it looks strange. At least when I talk, people can see that I can talk and be a normal person.”

On Monday, Medvedev showed off his personality and sense of humour, he also gave what Courier described as a masterclass, explaining how he came to return from so far behind the baseline.

“You called me master of return, but I don’t think so because my return from close I don’t think is that good,” he said, smiling. “When I first came on the Tour, I would play someone like [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga, who’s serving 220 kph, and I lost the match pretty easy, no break points and I would think, maybe I should do something different.

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“I realised that when I hit a return [from far back] I kind of don’t hit a return, I hit a kind of normal topspin ball. At some point I realised that’s where my return is the best and I started playing better. What’s good from here, it’s pretty tough to hit it out.”

The interactions are not only fun for the crowd and anyone watching on TV, they also have a positive effect in the way he’s perceived by the fans.



“This year is good,” he said. “As I said already before the tournament, look, I want to try to change it. When I say 'to change it', not that, guys, please love me, whatever, no. I just want to think less about it, do my job, play tennis. Still can get some interactions with my box, but less with the crowd.

“Especially last year I felt like I've done a little bit too much. End of the season I was tired mentally. Then it's normal, there's 10,000 people. One guy would clap on a double-fault, I would go at him. I think that was definitely not right. I want to change in many, many aspects in my life. That's one of them. I think so far it's been working. Let's see how it goes later.”

In the quarterfinals, Medvedev will play Hubert Hurkacz, the ninth seed who ended the run of French wildcard Arthur Cazaux, 7-6(6) 7-6(3) 6-4.

Hurkacz has caused Medvedev big trouble in the past, winning three of their five meetings, and the Russian said he expected another intense battle. 

“Tough opponent for me for sure,” he said. “In my opinion, he serves bigger than many guys. I would compare it to something like Nick Kyrgios, very precise and at the same time strong.

“He's top two or three serves on tour. It's hard to return him. I'm going to have my eyes prepared and try to catch everything I can on Wednesday.”