Daniil Medvedev defeated Christopher Eubanks in five sets and reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time in his career, where he will face Carlos Alcaraz. After a tense match, he told how he managed to turn the game around, what he thought when he began to lose 1-2 in sets, how surprised he was with the statistics, what motivates him in this Wimbledon and if his attitude to the surface of the grass has changed.
Two steps from the title! Medvedev made a brilliant comeback, and for the first time, in the Wimbledon half-final.
“At some point I was very close to defeat”
– Feel good. It was a very difficult game, at some point I was very close to defeat. But I’m glad I was able to put it together. At a certain point, I started to lose everything: focus, initiative, which of course happens at this level. Chris played well.
I’m glad I was able to pull myself together, score and win. Very happy and looking forward to the next game.
Describe your career path up to this point, your first Wimbledon semifinal? — To be honest, I thought about it during the match. When I started losing, I thought, “Okay, what’s going on? Why is this happening? I remembered that during my career I achieved many things that four or five years ago I considered myself incapable of.
And I thought that I should try to turn the game around, do what I have already done many times: win this tough battle at the Grand Slam.
This Wimbledon semifinal is not about the past during my career, but about how I managed to score during this tournament. Before the tournament, I didn’t really like my tennis. In the first round, I didn’t feel good. But, from the second round, the game got better and better. Today was the moment when I lost everything I built during the tournament, but I was able to give it all back and even take a step forward. I hope I can do the same in the semifinals.
For a long time you were so far away that you almost sat down. She continued to serve, and then went to the shortened. Many wondered how long this will continue until at least three meters are advanced? – First of all, in the first set I pressured him in all the matches. In all the matches it was “exactly”. I had a break point after he had already taken one of his pitches. Some standing closer and further away can’t take Chris’ service. I thought he was doing everything right, he just needed to adjust the execution.
At a certain point, I had to try to change something, because in the second and third sets it seemed like I had no break points. So I thought that something needs to be changed, maybe it will be better this way. I immediately saw that I was pushing him further and continued to do so.
I have always said that during the game I try to see what works and what doesn’t. Until I started, I still thought it would work anyway. And when I decided that it might not work, I changed it.
– The public did not support you more, but him, but after the game they gave you a loud ovation. Are you satisfied with the audience, taking into account everything that happens? Do you feel that the audience is fair to you and other Russians and Belarusians, and does not attack? – I don’t know about the others, I didn’t see many games. I watched the match between Andrei and Novak, the audience was wonderful. I did not see Arina’s matches, or rather, I saw them, but without sound.
As for me, I said after the first game that the stands were incredible. Today I felt that they support the opponent. I do not know why. Maybe because of his tennis, maybe because he wasn’t the favorite, maybe why. Every game up to the quarterfinals was amazing.
Today they supported him more. But when I started to lose 1:2, I thought: let’s see, maybe now they will support me. And actually, I started to feel more support. It’s amazing. We’ll see how it goes on Center Court, because so far I’ve only played Court 1. I think it will be the same. It will be amazing to continue playing with Carlos.
“Wow, how did we get to five sets?”
– They gave you a warning, what do you think about it? Did you get the idea that there could be a disqualification? “I did nothing for this. What happened was that I started losing and getting angry. Before some balls, I almost had time, I tried to duck and the ball flew towards the stands. I thought the judge would probably tell me something. He didn’t say.
And the last time I got a warning, I didn’t want to do what happened to the ball because it was dangerous. She wanted to hit her so she would fly over the net, but she fell, she didn’t bounce as she should, so she flew. And I thought, “Oh my gosh.”
It was just bad luck, but nothing happened in the end, so I was surprised by the warning. I would understand if something happened, but nothing happened, in fact, they do not give notices of this. Then we talk to the judge in the tower. I think we were both wrong. I – because of my emotions, he – in something else, but this is already a question for him.
Just an unfortunate situation where nothing happened so we passed it on.
Was he on camera? – Yeah? From what I can see, against the wall. The wall is fine (laughs).
– The statistics say that after three sets you only made five unforced errors. And you were losing. I saw the statistics. I thought – wow. At some point in the game it seemed to me that I was not hitting, the statistics do not show that.
First, perhaps the statisticians were wrong. But maybe it’s because it’s hard to make an unforced error against Chris. It hits so hard that when you miss, it’s often a forced miss. When I saw the statistics, I thought: what about as soon as we play five sets? Always a question, do you allow double faults? If they are taken into account, then I had about five of them.
But I was able to improve the shot in the fourth set, I lacked it in the second and third sets. That was the point. I saw that I lost two service points in the fourth set, one in the tie-break. This is serious. This puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. This is very important on grass.
“I definitely like grass more than before. But I want to get to the end”
— Have you already studied Alcaraz’s game? What did you take away from the game in the United States? “I don’t think Indian Wells matters much here, here it will be different. At Wimbledon, the ball bounces lower, the serve is more important. And there I couldn’t add easy points because of the filing. I have seen several of their matches. A bit against Matteo. Did you see anything else? I don’t remember. Discuss tactics with the coach. It is interesting to play against Carlos, he is an incredible player. He’s still 19, right? He is just amazing what he does. He doesn’t stop, and I don’t think he will.
But I have played against many great players in my career. And many times I managed to win. So I’ll try, if I show my best game, I’ll have a chance.
What impresses you the most about him? I think it’s strength. Not long ago, at 17, he was younger and less mature, which is normal. Failure. Everyone saw that he was amazing, but they wondered if he could play with the same power, but miss less. And he did it fast, it was amazing.
The world’s first racket defeated the Danish prodigy. In 1/2 in Alcaraz – a battle with Medvedev
– This year you talked about how you adapt your game to the ground, and now – to the grass. You won in Rome, reaching the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time. Is there something in common here? – I really found something on clay, especially on the move, I adapted a lot. Rome was amazing. Even at Roland Garros and other losses, in Madrid and Monte Carlo, I played well, only the opponents were better.
I had no thoughts: oh my God, the floor, I can’t win the match here. On the contrary, I felt that I was playing well. Somewhere it’s a matter of luck. It’s still not my favorite surface, you can beat me on it.
Here I was able to find a rhythm, I need to adapt less to the grass. You just have to serve well and try to make a break per set. It sounds easy, but it’s not because the opponent is trying to do the same. I was able to find the rhythm, which was rarely the case before on grass, because the ball moves in such a way that you don’t always have time. At the moment I’m getting it, I hope I can find the rhythm for two more games.
– Last year you were banned from playing. Does it give you extra motivation? Do you like weed now? – Let’s wait for two more games (smiles). Now I like it more than before. But I want to try to get to the end, so you can ask again.
As for last year, not really, to be honest. I always said that I want to play, I want to be here. Wimbledon is an incredible tournament. I wanted to do well because this is my worst slam, the first round. I could never play here. Frustrated last year that I didn’t get a chance to prove myself that I can go far at Wimbledon, that legendary tournament.
That’s why I’m so motivated this year. Not because I haven’t played well at the Slams for a long time. I want to do well here. It will not be easy. Sometimes I try to put less pressure on myself, it’s better that way. And before this tournament I put more pressure on myself, I told myself that I had to do well.
Sometimes the trick is that with more pressure, you become more vulnerable, especially if you apply the pressure yourself. But I manage and so far I’m happy. And I will push myself even more in the next two games.