Tue, 05 Jul 2022

Medvedev coach states French Open aims

RT.com
17 May 2022, 22:41 GMT+10

The Russian world number two is set to line up at Roland-Garros after recovering from surgery

Daniil Medvedev should target a run to the French Open last eight at the very least after stepping up his comeback from a hernia operation, the Russian's coach Gilles Cervara has said.

The world number two returns to competitive action on the clay courts of the Geneva Open on Tuesday, just over six weeks after undergoing surgery.

The Grand Slam at Roland-Garros gets underway on Sunday, where Medvedev is expected to line up as second seed - assuming his return in Switzerland is unhindered by the effects of his operation.

Clay is famously the least-favored surface for Medvedev, with the 6ft 6in star making his disdain for the red dirt clear on numerous occasions down the years.

But the Russian appeared to find his feet at last year's French Open when he went on a career-best run to the quarterfinals before being beaten by eventual runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

According to Medvedev's coach Cervara, the aim is to match that campaign at the very least.

"I have the impression that Daniil is coming back from vacation and no injury," Cervara was quoted as saying by Tennis Majors.

"Each day, it was found that he could execute more things than the day before. The serve was the last shot to be tested. In the fourth week, we resumed normal training and a real preparation phase...

"Roland-Garros is an objective in itself. We are going to Geneva to have as many benchmarks as possible given the situation. The idea is to do at least as well as last year," added the Frenchman, who has worked with Medvedev full-time since 2017.

Cervara indicated that Medvedev would prefer a spell of dry weather in France to provide suitable conditions - something he shares with former American great Pete Sampras, whose best run at Roland-Garros was the semifinals despite winning every other Grand Slam at least twice. 

"Daniil is like Sampras. When he arrives in Paris, he hopes for dry weather so that the ball goes faster. A higher rebound makes their game more efficient," said Cervara.

Cervara's hopes were echoed by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, who suggested Medvedev could even be a "dark horse" in Paris.  

"The main thing is that Medvedev should work hard in Geneva," Tarpischev told Russian outlet Championat.

"You need to get through a couple of rounds. The nervous system must be trained. You need to adapt to the surface.

"At Roland-Garros itself, it would be desirable to reach the quarterfinals. Much will depend on the draw," added Tarpischev.  

Medvedev and his fellow Russian stars are clear to compete at Roland-Garros as neutrals, with the Paris Grand Slam not following in the footsteps of Wimbledon, which has banned all Russian and Belarusian players from this summer's event due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Geneva Open this week, Medvedev said he could "understand" that decision from one perspective, but that he still found it "unfair."

Despite his lofty ranking, US Open champion Medvedev will not be among the favorites at Roland-Garros.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will be tipped for a strong claim to the title after returning to form and fitness recently at the Italian Open, while 13-time French Open Rafael Nadal will also be fancied, should he remain injury-free.

Elsewhere, Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz could continue his remarkable rise, while last year's beaten finalist Tsitsipas is also comfortable on clay.

Medvedev's fans will have a chance to assess his fitness when he takes on French veteran Richard Gasquet in Geneva on Tuesday.    

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