Daniil Medvedev finished the year as number 3 in the world, a position he occupies thanks to his perseverance and that confidence in his tennis that seemed to have been lost in 2022. Gilles Cervara, his coach, knows him very well and in a recent interview he took stock of his season, detailed what the Russian needs to win a new Grand Slam and how to beat Sinner and Alcaraz.
What do you need to beat the new version of Sinner?
“Sinner has made a lot of progress. He has invested a lot in training these last few months, constantly improving something in his game and working incredibly well. Daniil just needs to play like he did in Turin. He played well, he played very aggressive tennis: this is the key to success against the current Jannik. It’s similar to how to play against Djokovic. You need to be good in all the phases, in all the blows,” he confessed. Gilles Cervara in an interview for the Russian media Championship.
Is 2023 your best year?
“If we talk about consistency, this is his best season. He won two Masters 1000s and several other tournaments. In 2021 he won a Grand Slam, was in another grand final and finished the year as number 2, that year was better. But 2023 is close to 2021 in quality.”
On whether he deserves to have won another Grand Slam
“That is a difficult question. Of course I would like him to win more. The only thing I can say is that he played in all of his finals against Nadal and Djokovic. It is a big difference compared to other theoretical opponents in a final. I would very much like to see the final of a Grand Slam with Daniil and someone else, for example, Carlos or Jannik. “I’m very interested in what the outcome would be in that case.”
What will it take next year to get one?
“The most important thing is to maintain a high level of service throughout the match and not give in during the game. Secondly, we know that Medvedev is one of the best in the world at the back, but sometimes it takes something more to beat the best. Daniil needs to maintain his level in the backline, but at the same time improve his game at the net and attack it more frequently. There are times when he has the advantage in the play, but he remains on the baseline, losing a lot of energy because of this, which gives the opponent the opportunity to get back into the play and go to the net. And one more thing: we will need to find some additional moves against players who are good at serving and volleying. But I am absolutely sure that Medvedev is capable of winning a Grand Slam next year. He finished 2023 third in the world, that says it all.”
About his victory against Alcaraz at the US Open
“We thought about what he could improve in his game to have a chance with Alcaraz, like making sure Carlos didn’t have the opportunity to dominate like he did at Wimbledon and Indian Wells. We didn’t know if it would work or not because Alcaraz has the tools to give Daniila problems: power, net play. In the end we decided to be aggressive: I told Daniil that we couldn’t wait to make mistakes, that we had to press. She performed brilliantly and achieved one of the best victories of her career.”
What is your relationship like?
“Our relationship is special. I can’t say we are like father and son. It’s hard for me to call these relationships friendly simply because a coach should not be friends with a player. But of course, there’s more to it than just being a coach and a player. It is very difficult to find a description for this type of relationship. We have grown and continue to grow together as individuals over the years. “Daniil is part of my life and I am part of his.”
A dream for Cervara?
“Win another Grand Slam title. But I don’t want this to be just a dream, I want it to come true. Above all I want to win in Australia. Firstly because Daniil has already lost twice in the final there and, secondly, because I simply like that tournament.”
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