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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday May 15, 2023

Are we seeing a significant uptick in the clay-court form of Daniil Medvedev? In the past the Russian has made no secret of his contempt for the clay, comparing playing on clay to being a “dog in the dirt,” but in 2023 he appears to be taking the craft more seriously – and it shows in his results.

Tennis Express

Medvedev is 6-2 on the clay in 2023 and, perhaps more surprisingly, has rallied from a set down three times. Today he powered past rugged Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to book a spot in the round of 16.

Prior to 2023, Medvedev owned a 3-18 record when dropping the first set on clay at the ATP level. This year, already, he is 3-2.

“It's already my third win on clay coming from a set down, I just tried to play better – I managed to do it and I’m definitely happy with my level,” Medvedev said after improving to 35-5 overall on the season.

“I'm definitely playing my best tennis player right now. Like I've never played so good in Rome or even Madrid, it was great. So I'm feeling great. Looking forward to my next matches, definitely at the end it was high quality, I was really enjoying myself at the end.”

Prior to play last week in Rome, Medvedev said he spent several days working on his footwork on the surface, another good sign that the World No.3 is more committed than ever to finding success on the surface that has always befuddled him in the past.

"I think the sliding was always a problem," Medvedev told the media in Rome. "After Madrid, after I lost, a couple days I practiced there, I tried really a lot to focus on the sliding, on the movement. I felt like I improved in these couple of days."

Medvedev’s willingness to put in the hard yards on the surfaces speaks volumes about where his head is at this spring. He will enter his round of 16 match (against either Alexander Zverev or JJ Wolf) with a 24-25 lifetime record on the surface. Maybe it is finally time for Medvedev to start winning more than half of his matches on clay?

If Monday’s win over a very difficult clay-courter is any indication, the answer is yes.