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Preview: Familiar Rivals Medvedev, Zverev Face Off

Medvedev and Zverev set for rematch of Paris Bercy final


WEBWIRE

Like most wives, Daria Medvedeva occasionally has to field the odd complaint from her husband, Daniil. Before turning up at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris earlier this month, Daniil had a big one for her.

ďI was actually, how can we call it, crying to my wife, not crying, but just complaining, ĎOh my God, I donít have the level, I donít even have one final, Iím playing so bad,í blah blah blah,Ē he recalled.

Visit Infosys 50 Year Data Dive into Nitto ATP Finals

Medvedev won the tournament, beating his adversary Alexander Zverev in a hard-fought final. Perhaps not wanting to give away too much to his rivals, the 24-year-old Russian wizard didnít reveal how his wife, a former Top 100 junior tennis player, boosted his spirits. But if heís superstitious, he may want to bend his wifeís ear a bit more before Sascha Zverev, 23, has a chance to exact revenge on his rival Monday during their round robin rematch at The O2.

The players have a lot in common. Born 10 months apart, theyíre both right-handers with two-handed backhands who stand 6í6Ē (198 cm) and live in Monaco. Both have Russian parents, Saschaís from Sochi, Daniilís from Moscow, and root for the Bayern Munich football club. Zverev has a dog named Lovik that has his own Instagram page. Medvedev once tweeted a video impersonation of his husky howling at the moon. Medvedev recently said that his goal on court is to ďmake (his) opponents crazyĒ and Zverev does the much the same with his booming serves and precision passing shots.

Zverev had success on the Tour earlier, but Medvedev has been closing fast and is now ranked three spots ahead of the German at No. 4 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

The big men come into their round robin tilt like a pair of bucking broncos. The German is 27-9 on the season and has been on a tear, winning 12 of his past 13 matches, all indoors. Medvedevís form prior to winning Bercy wasnít as sharp, but heís shown flashes of brilliance at times this season, particularly during his run to the semi-finals at the US Open, where he didnít drop a set prior to losing to the eventual champion, Dominic Thiem.

Zverev holds a 5-2 ATP Head2Head edge in their rivalry, but the Russian has taken two of the past three encounters. Zverev has played in the Nitto ATP Finals four times, compiling a 7-5 record while winning the event in 2018, when he beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic along the way. Last season, Sascha lost in the semi-finals of the event to Dominic Thiem. Medvedev qualified for the first time last year and went 0-3, though he held a match point against Rafael Nadal.

Both sounded confident and eager to get rolling this week. ďLondon is a place where we love the atmosphere, we love the stadium and everything,Ē said Zverev, whose older brother Mischa, also plays on the Tour. ďItís going to be difficult, itís going to be different, but Iím still looking forward to playing in this beautiful stadium for the last time at the Nitto ATP Finals. Itís still going to be special.Ē

Medvedev, the name comes from the Russian root medved, which means bear, sounded less like a guy with a lot of complaints for his wife, and more like a man ready to take on the world, or at least the Group Tokyo 1970.

ďI have confidence in myself so I think it will help me here in London,Ē he said.

ďIn Paris, everything went together. I played really good tennis, it was tough to miss and thatís why Iím in my best shape and thatís when itís tough to beat me.Ē


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