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Melbourne (AFP) – US Open champion Daniil Medvedev declared on Saturday that he is mentally and physically ready for the Australian Open and capable of beating anybody.
The Russian second seed looms as the player to beat if Melbourne title-holder Novak Djokovic loses his fight against deportation from Australia.
Djokovic is still in the men’s draw for next week but faces deportation after the Australian government cancelled his visa for a second time, calling the unvaccinated Serbian a threat to public order.
Medvedev is feeling comfortable in his own skin having blown away the world number one in straight sets to win his first Grand Slam crown at the US Open last year.
The 25-year-old is confident of going one better after losing to Djokovic in last year’s Australian final.
“I’ve had a lot of time to prepare for the Australian Open,” Medvedev told reporters, two days before the first Slam of the year.
“I still have two days more to prepare well. I’m feeling ready physically and mentally. That’s the most important thing. That’s when I can play good and beat anybody.”
Medvedev said his US Open breakthrough has given him the confidence to win more Grand Slams.
“Sometimes before tournaments I could be a little bit concerned, nervous and sometimes angry if I was not playing well,” he said.
“It (US Open) did change this. Now I feel like I know even more what I can do, how I can play, what I have to do to play like this.
“In general, the US Open title has given me a lot of confidence, in my life and in my tennis as well.
“I’m feeling much more confident than last year in terms of knowing my game, what I’m capable of.”
Medvedev said if Djokovic did win his legal battle, he would expect the 20-time Grand Slam champion to again be in the Melbourne final.
“Talking about myself, even if Novak is in the draw, I can only see him in the final,” he said.
Medvedev said he senses his place in the tennis order as the ‘Big Three’ — Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — are getting older.
“Yet they are still winning a lot of Slams. Every tournament they’re in, they are the favourites,” he said.
Federer is not in Melbourne because of injury, but Nadal is.
Medvedev is also wary of the title claims of world number three Alexander Zverev of Germany.
“At the end of last year, starting from the Olympic Games, Sascha became a really big force, won a lot of tournaments,” he said.
Zverev captured his second ATP Finals title, overcoming Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 to end his standout 2021 season in style in Turin.
The consistent Medvedev won 63 matches last year, more than any other player, and lifted all but one of his 13 ATP titles on hard courts — the surface to be used for the Australian Open.
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