Daniil Medvedev says that even strangers want to buy him dinner since winning his first Grand Slam, but the Russian tennis star is still hungry for more success.
The 25-year-old beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open final last month to prevent him becoming the first man since the legendary Rod Laver in the 1960s to win all four Grand Slams in the same year.
"It was a big dream come true for me," Medvedev said after practice Thursday at Indian Wells, where he is hoping to bag another big title this week. "I am motivated. I came here prepared."
He was coy about whether he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, but more forthcoming about the attention he now receives since his dominating 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Djokovic.
"Everybody talks about you in the media, the newspapers and in Russia of course," he said. "Some people texted me that I hadn't seen for a long time.
"A lot of people tried to pay for me in restaurants. Sometimes I try to refuse it. I don't see why to accept it from people I don't know.
"It is funny, but strange anyway."
Medvedev's US Open breakthrough followed heartbreak in previous Grand Slam finals. He came close to winning the 2019 US Open but lost in five sets to Rafael Nadal. Djokovic defeated Medvedev in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
He lost just one set during the US Open while earning $2.5 million and is the first Russian since Maria Sharapova to win a US Open singles title after her victory in 2006.
Medvedev has never been ranked higher than second in the world, where he now sits. But now that he has his first Grand Slam title under his belt, the obvious next step is to go gunning for world No. 1.
Medvedev decided not to make any changes to his schedule after his Slam triumph -- he could have taken time off, but doesn't want to get complacent.
He spent his time between the US Open and now competing for the winning Team Europe at the Laver Cup in Boston before heading to Los Angeles for a week of training.
"I haven't left USA after US Open because I knew I had the Laver Cup and Indian Wells coming up," he said. "My coach decided the best thing was to practise in Los Angeles."
Medvedev wants to play in the Australian Open in January but declined Thursday to say whether he had received the Covid-19 vaccine. Australia has some of the toughest Covid-19 health and safety protocols in the world.
Medvedev didn't say whether he is a vaccine skeptic, instead describing his secrecy as a strategic move.
"I don't talk about my medical. I have had a lot of injuries. That's how I protect myself from competition of the other players. I keep my medical private for me and my family."
Top seed Medvedev received a bye through the first round at Indian Wells and will face Mackenzie McDonald of the USA in the second round.
In women's early round play on Thursday, Czech Katerina Siniakova defeated former world No 1 Kim Clijsters 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 and Caroline Garcia of France rallied to beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.
In first-round men's action, Japan's Kei Nishikori came from behind to beat Joao Sousa 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-2 and American Frances Tiafoe cruised past Benoit Paire of France 6-4, 6-4.
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