TORONTO – The Citi Open in Washington, D.C. this year is, even by its standards, a matter of surviving, not thriving.
When we last saw Daniil Medvedev Wednesday afternoon, he was up 4-1 in the third set on Canadian No. 9 seed Denis Shapovalov.
But he was toast.
Medvedev, 22, even was sitting down in the linespersons’ chairs between points.
And on changeovers, he just sat there, hardly moving, slumped in his chair.
As overheated and agitated as Shapovalov was, he was in much better nick. And he won five straight games – and the match – to advance to the third round.
Some 48 hours later, Medvedev looked fully back in form as he practiced at the Rogers Cup.
He didn’t have much time to rest. Medvedev is the No. 3 seed in the qualifying, and he’ll face a grind against Norbert Gombos of Slovakia in the first round.
If he wins, he would play either Canadian wild card Brayden Schnu or No. 3 seed Mackenzie McDonald (who lost a tough one to Andy Murray in the first round in D.C.).
Both Medvedev (wild card) and McDonald (direct entry) were in the main draw in D.C. This week in Toronto, it’ll be more of a slog.
Medvedev trains at the Elite Tennis Center in Cannes, France (not a bad place).
And he has been coached by Gilles Cervara (one of the co-founders of theacademy along with the Monégasque Jean-René Lisnard) for more than four years.
For whatever reason, you figured they probably spoke English to each other.
Not the case.
Cervara was on the court with Medvedev on Friday, coaching him in … French.
He told tennis.life that Medvedev spoke it very well.
It actually sort of makes sense that the language of communication between student and pupil would at least be the first language for one of them (and it’s doubtful that Cervara’s Russian would be up to snuff).
It’s not necessarily a rare thing on the pro tours. You can hear players like the Italian Sara Errani and the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova speak fluent Spanish with their Spanish coaches. Just to name two.
But it’s one of those under-the-radar things that just shows you how gifted these players are. Because learning is hard enough in your first language – never mind your third.