My expectation of Daniil Medvedev has soared since the match against Djokovic in the fourth round of 2019, during the Australian opening. His flat backhand looked like a nice defensive weapon. If he plays cross-court backhand, the bounce becomes too low after the ball lands and it becomes very difficult for the opponent to attack.
This advantage is usually obtained by slicing, but Medvedev can also take advantage of this regular defensive on a regular basis. But the part of his game that has always seemed weak to me is his forehand It is difficult to have good timing in this forehand of strange and unorthodox technique, the margin of error is much less.
It is very difficult to attack with this forehand, especially when on the run. I have written about this more than once before. However, I was confident that Medvedev would do well on all surfaces because of his flat, consistent, and relatively low bouncy backhand.
After the Miami Open in 2019, I saw that in the preview of Monte Carlo on Gil Gross’s channel, Medvedev was not caught.
According to him, Daniel Clay will not be able to take advantage at all, for example, he will not be able to generate enough topspin to suffer the opponent with his flat backhand. I was a little surprised because, in my opinion, it is possible to exhaust the opponent defensively with that backhand even if the opponent cannot suffer directly.
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So it is possible for him to do well against everyone except Nadal or Theme. Monte Carlo started as usual. Medvedev lost to Djokovic there, also to Sitsipas, and later to Clay specialist Dusan Lavovic in the semis. It was not a big surprise as he was already ready and mentally ahead in the fight against Sitsipas. But Djokovic’s defeat came as a surprise to many. Of course, I was not surprised.
Following this trend, Medvedev reached the final of the Barcelona Open the following week. I was satisfied with my theory at the time, and I was suffering from a little self-satisfaction, thinking that he was repaying my belief that Clay could do better. I even asked Gil about it – did he change his mind about Clay Medvedev’s performance.
In a match analysis the following Monday, Gill said in response to a question that his attitude had not changed much and that he still considered Clay Medvedev a weak player. At the same time, he said that he was lucky that no match was played so hard in those two tournaments.
This analysis surprised me again, I could not fully accept it. But in the next tournaments, Gill’s words proved to be true and I was completely wrong. Daniel lost his first match at Madrid, Rome, and the French Open. I was ashamed that my thoughts were wrong, that I thought my opinion was right, but that I felt stupid.
The following year, in 2020, Danil proved to be right again, having been eliminated in the first round of the Rome and French Open. But in the meanwhile he has entered the top five of the rankings, it was quite eye-catching to do so badly in Clay. Almost the same thing is happening this year.
After losing five matches in a row to Clay, Madrid won in Tenetun against Fakina but lost to Garin in the next match. Even today, in the first match against Karatesev in Rome, they lost in a straight-set.
The failure of Medvedev’s Tennis career:
Now the question is what actually caused Medvedev’s failure. Gill did not discuss this in detail in his analysis two years ago, and I have not seen much of a technical reason for it since then. But I have a rough idea.
First, Daniel’s forehand in Clay has consistently proved ineffective. But due to the slow type of surface, the timing of his forehand should be better in Clay. It sounds strange to hear, but there is an acceptable explanation. Despite the strange stroke mechanics in the forehand and the un-orthodox racket swing, Daniel has been able to master the footwork for better timing on the hardcourt.
It’s not in a hurry at all, the matter has come to this stage after working for the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons, the results of which have come in the middle of 2019. Clay’s case is different, as there is extra time available, so everyone’s forehand timing is usually very good. But Medvedev’s forehand is not like everyone else’s. I have already said that the margin of error in this forehand is very low, so the timing has to be perfect.
So even if you get more time, it is not possible to hit the ball in the sweet spot of the racket automatically, for this you have to do extra work. I’m sure Medvedev has already worked with his coach. But it is not possible to rush that job application against a clay specialist or a top player or a tough match-up, it is a slow process. But it is not possible to rush that job application against a clay specialist or a top player or a tough match-up, it is a slow process.
Moreover, in order to get the expected result of this work, Clay has to play enough matches, every time he loses the first match, he will not have that opportunity. I’ve seen a lot of misdemeanor shots in his forehand at clay tournaments so far this year, especially down the line. Also inside out forehand in short balls and was quite weak so far.
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The second reason for Medvedev’s failure:
Secondly, his return of service to Clay is exactly below average It’s very embarrassing for an elite returnee like him. The main reason for this weakness is of course his court coverage. His slides in clay are not exactly natural. Slides, in particular, rarely get the extra coverage and speed they deserve. I do not understand the reason behind this. The thing is really surprising, because of his movement on the hardcourt, even the slides are great.
But Clay also struggles to cover the ground. Of course, his return position also has some role behind this Who knows if it’s because of the drawn-out failure, Daniel Clay has been returning from quite close to the baseline for quite some time, even the First Survey.
In my opinion, these tactics are rather backfiring. There is a problem with that forehand. Standing close to the baseline is causing more regular disturbances in forehand timing during returns, especially on the Deuce side.
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The third reason for Medvedev’s failure:
Thirdly, his backhand and draw. Medvedev is unfortunate that he has had a tough match-up in the last few clay tournaments. I faced Ugo Amber in Rome last year, whose game I think has all the ingredients to be an excellent all-surface player. He then had to face Marton at the start of the French Open, a difficult opponent for most players on the slower surface in recent times.
This year in Madrid he had to play against Alejandro Davidovich Faulkina, who is a clay specialist. In the next match, he got Christian Garin, who enjoyed the extra height of Madrid due to his fast forehand. Aslan gotKaratsev in the last match.
Karatsev, however, is not a clay specialist or a match-up problem for Daniel. But the problem is that his backhand is quite powerful. Since the forehand is not doing well, Daniel’s only hope in Clay, for now, is to stay consistent at the backhand to backhand crosscourt rally and wait for the opponent’s mistake. These tactics will not work on clay against an opponent with a strong backhand like Karatsev.
He will easily generate extra pace with the help of low bounce and will rush Danil to the ad side and he did that in this match. Since Daniel’s coverage in Clay isn’t so good, his defense doesn’t work well in the rush. In the next shot, the opponent easily gets a short ball, which he can use and generate a winner. And Medvedev’s backhand bounce is low, but it’s not as low as other surfaces due to Clay’s extra kicks.
This is where the biggest mistake in my theory was because I thought Daniel’s backhand would be as unattractive as any other surface because of the low bounce. Another important thing is the topspin 7 of the opponent’s groundstroke The more loops the opponent’s backhand (forehand if left-handed), the more difficult it will be to deal with the ball crosscourt backhand due to the extra kick of the claw.
This problem usually requires an extra loopy one-handed backhand (Theme, Shapovalov) or a two-handed backhand (Djokovic) that can generate moderate topspins so that the topspin and bounce of the opponent’s crosscourt backhand cannot be neutralized, but The opponent can also be attacked. Medvedev has some trouble controlling the opponent’s extra topspin with his flat backhand, the offensive play in the return shot is the next thing. Daniel doesn’t have much of a problem because the hard court usually neutralizes the effects of the extra topspin, but the impact of the topspin on clay is much greater.
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The fourth reason for Medvedev’s failure:
Fourthly, the level of play. Due to so many problems, Danil is getting a bit demotivated and frustrated. His level of play is also dropping in regular neutral rallies.
Improve Gill’s game career:
Gill hopes Daniel’s game at Clay will improve in the years ahead. Gill believes that even if he doesn’t do something amazing, he won’t have a very simple clay-court career like Sampras. Of course, I agree with this, I also think that it is possible for Daniel to do fairly well in Clay if he can cut some of the above weaknesses, maybe even win two or three Clay Masters. However, as I thought in 2019 that he could be a good all-surface player, I don’t think so at all.