It may have been a long four years since the previous edition of the Rolex Shanghai Masters, but Daniil Medvedev retains strong memories of his successful 2019 campaign in China.
Medvedev overcame Alexander Zverev in the championship match that year to cap a stellar run on hard courts during which he lifted his first two ATP Masters 1000 crowns (Cincinnati, Shanghai) and reached his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open. The 27-year-old believes his Shanghai triumph was crucial in proving his spurt of success was no flash in the pan.
“This title is really strong in my memory,” said Medvedev on Friday as he prepares to defend his 2019 crown in Shanghai. “I managed to go on a run of reaching six finals in a row. Three of them were Masters 1000s and one was a Grand Slam. At the time it was huge for me. I probably didn't expect and didn't think I would be able to do something like this.
“[Shanghai] was the tournament, after this great US summer, where everyone was asking, and I was asking myself: ‘Am I really capable of going again and playing good and winning the title maybe?' I managed to do it. I loved the tournament and loved the city, so it really gave me a lot of confidence for the future also.”
Medvedev has notched a Tour-leading 42 wins on hard courts in 2023 and has lifted four of his five ATP Tour crowns this season on the surface. Despite defeat to Jannik Sinner in Wednesday's final at the China Open in Beijing, he is delighted with the consistency of his displays on his favoured surface.
“Probably only the Australian Open, Toronto and Cincinnati were not the best [for me this year],” said Medvedev. “At the same time, that's how the Tour is. I lost against strong players in tough battles. Other than that, probably all other tournaments on hard courts I played great. Hopefully I can finish [the year] on the same note.”
Having already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fifth consecutive year, Medvedev is feeling relaxed as the Tour enters a part of the season in which he has historically performed well. Medvedev has won six of his 20 tour-level crowns at post-US Open events on the ATP Tour calendar, and is happy with how his body is holding up having played 72 matches so far in 2023.
“It's never easy, but at the same time sometimes the better you play, the more confidence you have and the more you can still go for it more and more,” said Medvedev, who will hope to improve his 59-13 record when he takes on Cristian Garin in his Shanghai opener. “Right now I'm feeling good, I'm playing good and enjoying being back in China. I'm happy to try to continue this way here in Shanghai.”