Just begun, the story of” friendship “ between Daniil Medvedev and the red clay could already draw to an end. Arriving impatient as always at Roland-Garros, on Tuesday 30 May the Russian number 2 in the world sadly left the field of Philippe-Chatrier, eliminated as soon as he entered the race by Thiago Seyboth Wild (172And World), an amazing 23-year-old Brazilian, out of qualification (7-6, 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4).
In the wake of the May 21 title at the Masters 1000 in Rome – his first on the surface – Medvedev approached, more relaxed than in previous years, the Paris deadline where he has never made it past the quarterfinals (in 2021). “It’s the first time I’ve come here after winning the matches the week before, I’m a little less stressed than on clay.” the Russian had assured the day before launching his Paris fortnight. In the Italian capital, Medvedev had impressed his clan as much as his peers, with victories in particular over Germany’s Alexander Zverev and two Top 10 players, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denmark’s Holger Rune in the final, two specialized surface players he was allergic to to him until then.
“This could be the start of a beautiful clay friendship. No love eh, just friendship”, he then faded. A success that projected him among the outsiders of the Parisian Grand Slam, behind the two great favourites, Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic.
A foreboding statement
“I have higher expectations than usual at Roland-Garros, but I also know it can be a trap. You need to know how to capitalize on this confidence, but not be sure of yourself because that’s where the danger lies. Sometimes you think, “Oh, I played so well, it’s going to be easy.” Then, in the first round, we have problems,” Medvedev had prophesied on Friday 26 May during his pre-tournament press conference.
On Tuesday, in a central field swept by gusts of wind, the Russian player, who has long defined himself as a “cow on ice”. Borrowed from his travels, the tall (1.98m) staker produced painless play for his opponent, his big loose shots perfectly countered by such a bold looking Brazilian of his tennis.
From the start of the match, the audience at Philippe-Chatrier’s court supported the cause of this moustached and tattooed man who looked like Freddy Mercury. He is in front of “Thia-go” sound coming down from the stands, the shy ” come on Daniel » (“Go Daniil!”) they were no match for this. Unimpressed by his baptism in midfield, the Brazilian doubled down on his aggression in jabs, making Medvedev admire his forehand turn.
For two sets, the younger led the Russian surveyor to his own game, showing him the four corners of the court. Seyboth Wild also had the opportunity to lead two sets to zero, before committing greed and haste on three balls in a row. Seized with cramps, he let the world No. 2 take control of the match in the next two sets. Annoyed by the crowd booing him when he asks the referee to come down to check a mark, the The French-speaking Russian asked the haters to shut up.
Before Seyboth Wild attaches himself to the plume. This fan ofHarry Potter – to the point of getting a tattoo on his body Hermione’s eyes, the Forbidden Forest or Hedwig’s head – pulled out of his magic boot an anthology of depreciation, which he masters as much as volleying. Pushed into the fifth set, Medvedev is regularly caught on the break by this opponent who is playing the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time after nine attempts. After four and fifteen hours of play, Thiago Seyboth Wild didn’t flinch as he finished with a last forehand down the line, his 69And winning move of the game.
“I just had to believe in myself”
Winner of the 2018 US Open juniors, this right-footed man – who has Rafael Nadal’s autobiography as a book on his bedside table – won his first title on the main circuit at the beginning of 2020, beating Casper Ruud (unlucky finalist at Roland-Garros 2022 against Nadal ) in the final in Santiago (Chile). He then became the first player born in the 2000s to lift an ATP trophy. Since then, he couldn’t confirm, he’s backed into the 418And in early 2023.
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For free, Marechal native Candido Rondon won the fight. “It’s the best day of my life. I knew it would be a difficult match, but I knew which tactic to use against [Medvedev], I’ve seen him play a thousand times. I just had to believe in myself.” reacted, more intimidated when talking to journalists than on the pitch, then frankly uncomfortable when questioned about acts of Domestic violence of which he was accused by a former partner in 2021.
On land, the loser of the day promises him a tomorrow that sings: If he keeps playing like this he will finish the season in the Top 30, he will earn more money, sponsors will comeassured Daniil Medvedev. But for this, he has to play at this level in world tournaments, and this does not come down to a single feat on the field by Philippe-Chatrier. »
Despite this defeat, the Russian is not shot down. “Physically I didn’t feel so bad. Obviously I’m disappointed, but I don’t think I played badly. Next year I might be even more motivated to win another title on clay. » This will be the occasion to celebrate his victory with a small dance, his new ritual which he started in Rome. By any chance a samba?