Medvedev keen for clay play before Paris

Russian tennis star says he needs a few matches under his belt in Geneva to prepare for French Open

AFP May 17, 2022


Daniil Medvedev said he was ready and raring to go as he returns from a hernia operation, tuning up for next week's French Open on the Geneva clay.

The world number two underwent surgery last month after losing in the quarter-finals in Miami, missing the early clay-court season.

"It's never been easy for me on a clay court to start good straight away. So even one tournament is going to be good to prepare," he told reporters late Sunday.

"I'm feeling good physically, I'm feeling ready."

The US Open champion said playing in this week's 28-man, best-of-three-sets tournament in Geneva would help him sharpen up for the best-of-five Grand Slam in Paris.

"From what I can see, the conditions are very similar to Roland-Garros, where the balls fly around and the clay is fairly hard," the 26-year-old Russian said.

"The most important thing for me is to play at least one match – of course I'm hoping to play more – in order to be ready to play five-set matches, if I have to.

"Even one, two or three matches here could help me be more ready to play at Roland-Garros."

Medvedev and Denis Shapovalov had a knockabout on the Lake Geneva shore on Monday as they posed for photos.

Top seed Medvedev has a bye into the round of 16 and will face either France's Richard Gasquet or John Millman of Australia on Tuesday.

Last year's Geneva winner Casper Ruud, runner-up Shapovalov and Reilly Opelka are the other top 20 players taking part, along with the 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem.

"It's a week before the French Open and that's all that matters for me right now," Opelka told AFP.

"Roland-Garros is really what I'm here for. I haven't played well over the last couple of weeks so it's important for me to be here to get another match or two in and feel my game a little more before playing there," the 24-year-old American said.

Geneva tournament director Thierry Grin said it was a relief to have the public back in the grounds after two years of Covid-19 disruption.

"2020 was cancelled, last year there were no fans, so things had to start again, sport had to resume – for the public, but also for the players, who need to have an audience and people to support them," he told AFP.

The centre court has a 3,000-seat capacity and Grin said this year had seen the biggest-ever ticket pre-sales, even before the players taking part were announced.

"This is proof that people want to get back out there," he said.


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