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Medvedev on Key Core to Mental Game

By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, March 30, 2023

Measured moves and grand vision Daniil Medvedev deploys inspired Hall of Famer John McEnroe to brand him a "chess master" on court.

While Medvedev is a master of tactical complexity, he says his mental strength comes from a simple core principle.

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Medvedev hates losing more than he loves winning.

"You never know what's more important, talent or hard work. Actually both are," Medvedev told the media after defeating American qualifier Christopher Eubanks 6-3, 7-5 to reach his maiden Miami Open semifinal. "Starting from when I was really young, no matter which game I play, I hate to lose.

"So I actually hate to lose more than I like to win, and you can kind of see this on the court. I think that's a good thing. But if you don't work it, that can become a bad thing, because that's when you can, you know, sometimes maybe stop practicing hard, because that's gonna release some pressure of you. If you don't practice hard, you say, yeah, well, I lost the match because I didn't practice well enough. That's a little bit weak."


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Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai champion Medvedev has won 22 of his last 23 matches and will take on childhood friend Karen Khachanov for a spot in the final.

The 14th-seeded Khachanov backed up his first win over second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas by dispatching 2022 semifinalist Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets on Grandstand.

The fourth-seeded Medvedev has beaten Khachanov in three of four pro meetings and noted neither man was the best in their age group growing up in Russia.

Familiarity compels both men to alter preferred patterns, Medvedev said.

"I think maybe just a little bit you have to kind of force yourself even more to be focused, and when I say this, it's just because they know your game so well and you know theirs so well," Medvedev said. "So it's kind of I'm almost sure we know how the match is going to go tomorrow, and it's a question of who's going to make the best shot out of we're gonna play.

"So I kind of know when he's going to go down the line, when he's going to try to do a high ball, low ball, maybe slice, whatever. And he knows what I'm gonna do. So it becomes who does a better shot at the better time.

"Maybe I have to just force yourself a little bit, but at the same time, it's like any other match. You want to win. Honestly I don't care if I play a friend or the guy I don't like on the other side of the net. Just want to win. That's what competition is."

Photo credit: Matthew Calvis