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Australian Open could be 'really dangerous' for tennis players, says ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev

Russia's Daniil Medvedev overcame the top three players in the world en route to lifting the season-ending ATP Finals trophy in London. Speaking to CNN, the 24-year-old reflects on what he says is the biggest win of his career and explains why he no longer celebrates after victories.

Posted: Nov 24, 2020 11:01 AM
Updated: Nov 24, 2020 11:01 AM

He might be basking in the joy of the biggest win of his career, but Daniil Medvedev's thoughts have already turned to the first grand slam of 2021.

It's a sign of the times, though, that he's thinking more about his health than winning a debut slam, given the way the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to impact international travel.

Medvedev, the newly crowned ATP Finals champion, tells CNN Sport he is "really uncertain" about his Australian Open plans.

Players will not be allowed to arrive in Australia any earlier than January 1, with the latest coronavirus regulations in Victoria -- the state in which the Australian Open is held -- outlining that any new arrivals would still need to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

With the tournament currently scheduled to begin on January 18, that would leave players very little time to prepare physically after being confined to a hotel room for two weeks.

"I'm going to go to Australia when we can to avoid any circumstances that would change your mind about competing there," Medvedev told CNN's Christina Macfarlane.

"If, for instance, you weren't able to compete or to train during quarantine just ahead of the tournament, I don't think the tournament is going to happen.

READ: Daniil Medvedev battles from behind to win ATP Finals with victory over Dominic Thiem

"[I'm] not complaining that it's boring or something like this, it's just that going out from the room after 14 days of not doing anything and [then] playing five sets right away, I think would be really dangerous for the health of any sportsman.

"At least from what was said before, we would be able to practice on tennis courts and practice physically, which is really important. I don't think it's going to be possible for anybody to go there [if they] will need to stay in the room for 14 days."

Dan Andrews, the Victorian Premier, said this weekend he was "very confident" the Australian Open would take place "in the early part of next year," but admitted the exact dates were still to be confirmed.

There had been reports the tournament could be pushed back as far as February or March, but organizers said in a statement to Reuters that this was "pure speculation."

Australian Open organizers and the ATP did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

Resurgence

Whenever the Australian Open does eventually go ahead, Medvedev will rightly see himself as one of the favorites to lift the trophy.

From November 2019 to October 2020, the Russian failed to beat a single top 10 player. In the last four weeks, which saw him win the Paris Masters as well the ATP Finals, Medvedev has beaten seven.

"I actually didn't know this this information, so it's funny to hear," Medvedev said. "I know that I'm capable of playing great tennis and I didn't know that I didn't beat any top 10 player for such a long time ... I was surprised!

"But it's great that these two tournaments that I won, everything came together. Some great matches, great opponents. I mean, in the Masters you only play top 10 opponents, you have no choice. There is no easy draw here. So it's just really great. I'm happy about this.

"Tennis is a game with, I would say, a lot of mentality and confidence involved. Sometimes you feel that you cannot miss a shot. So then you start thinking: 'OK, do I go down the line or cross?' And that's the only thing you think about. And when you are in doubt, when you're not playing so well, that's when you start to think more."

Still only 24 years old, Medvedev is part of the 'Next Gen' group of stars that were supposed to end the hegemony of the current "Big Three" of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

However, with none of that group able to win a grand slam in the presence of at least one of the "Big Three" -- Djokovic was disqualified in the recent US Open won by Dominic Thiem -- their credentials on the biggest stage continue to be questioned.

Medvedev became the first man in history to beat the top three seeds en route to the ATP Finals title, something he believes will stand him in good stead when trying to win his maiden grand slam at the Australian Open.

"That is of course a goal for every tennis player, to win a grand slam," he said. "I think it's one of the biggest achievements you can have in tennis. Dominic got it this year, I cannot imagine how happy for this one.

"But I always say that I work my best in practice, on the tennis court when I play matches, when I play against other players practicing or doing physical exercises, improving my physique, and that's how the victories can come.

"So hopefully I can have some big moments in my career, including a victory in a Grand Slam, but we never know how it's going to go -- and of course, victories against the three biggest players in the world right now helps a lot."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294091

Reported Deaths: 6669
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19626230
Hinds18745386
Harrison16618278
Rankin12662264
Jackson12509224
Lee9679160
Madison9432199
Jones7928146
Forrest7184136
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Holmes181770
Clay178550
Stone171929
Tallahatchie170439
Clarke169171
Calhoun157528
Smith152531
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Greene127433
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
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Perry121534
Lawrence119621
Carroll118124
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Webster110230
Jefferson Davis101531
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Kemper89723
Quitman77114
Franklin75919
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62326
Jefferson62027
Sharkey48817
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 492683

Reported Deaths: 9930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709061374
Mobile36044725
Madison32355455
Tuscaloosa24093410
Montgomery22536501
Shelby21892215
Baldwin19714283
Lee14950153
Morgan13641251
Calhoun13232286
Etowah13163319
Marshall11250209
Houston10073261
Elmore9371185
Limestone9353134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8813223
Lauderdale8594211
DeKalb8441175
Talladega7511163
Walker6514255
Jackson6487102
Autauga624891
Blount6095127
Colbert6000118
Coffee5238102
Dale4637107
Russell403930
Franklin398977
Covington3953106
Chilton3868100
Escambia377272
Tallapoosa3581142
Clarke343650
Chambers3406110
Dallas3401141
Pike293272
Lawrence282684
Marion281695
Winston246567
Bibb244960
Geneva239070
Marengo235355
Pickens224454
Barbour211351
Hale209468
Fayette200256
Butler195666
Henry182241
Cherokee176838
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156435
Crenshaw144354
Clay143854
Macon141743
Cleburne137339
Lamar132533
Lowndes130851
Wilcox121625
Bullock116736
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87532
Choctaw55023
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