Like many a Muscovite, including Rublev, Medvedev grew up playing much of the yr in fast indoor conditions.
“It was not even hardcourts — it was more like indoor ice,” Rublev said with fun on Saturday. “You touch the ball and the ball is sort of a rocket. You hit one ball and the ball goes so fast, even when you find yourself 6 years old. In Moscow, there may be actually loads of clay, but the issue is there’s not much summer, only two or three months, so that you don’t get much time to play on it.”
Rublev, the No. 7 seed and long based in Spain, has had more consistent results on clay at the professional level and was a quarterfinalist on the French Open in 2020 and a finalist on the Monte Carlo Open last yr. His forehand, hit with heavy topspin and major racket-head speed, suits the normal vision of a clay-courter far more than Medvedev’s together with his comparatively flat strokes.
But it is vitally tempting to agree with Rublev that Medvedev’s biggest obstacle on clay is between the ears.
“He didn’t beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo for nothing,” Rublev said in an interview, recalling a 2019 upset. “So, I believe it’s more about him, that he put this in his head, than it’s concerning the clay. And we will all see now that he has won all of the matches here quite easy, beating good players.”
Still, the trail doesn’t get smoother. Medvedev is in a more welcoming neighborhood than the highest half of the draw, however it remains to be a rough neighborhood with Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Hubert Hurkacz and Casper Ruud all on the prowl.
Next up for Medvedev: the No. 20 seed Marin Cilic, who overwhelmed a weary Gilles Simon, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2, on Saturday within the 37-year-old Simon’s final French Open match (he’ll retire at yr’s end). Simon, one in every of the cleanest hitters and deeper thinkers on tour, gave a superb summary of why it can soon be time to bid adieu.