Medvedev’s ‘impossible’ Indian Wells theory proven wrong by title run

Daniil Medvedev could have a good shot at winning Indian Wells next week after proving his own theory wrong. The world No 6 has never been beyond the fourth round in the Californian desert but is coming into the tournament on a 14-match winning streak which saw him pick up three titles in the space of three weeks.

Medvedev is going into Indian Wells in the form of his life after lifting trophies in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai all in the span of three weeks. The 27-year-old is currently on a 14-match winning streak – the second longest of his career – which includes a win over Novak Djokovic making him the only man to beat the world No 1 this season.

The 18-time title winner had previously opted to play in Acapulco in previous years during the February tournaments but opted for the Middle East this season and the decision more than paid off as he won Doha and Dubai – something his coach believes also proves the Russian’s theory about his Indian Wells chances wrong. Gilles Cevara has revealed that his charge struggles in the conditions but can use his winning streak as an example of his ability in the desert.

“He’s never really liked playing in the desert, but Doha and Dubai just swept that aside,” Medvedev’s long-time coach told Tennis Majors. The 42-year-old now thought that any previous assumptions that the Indian Wells title was out of the question for Medvedev had now been proven wrong, adding: “He thought it was impossible to play well there. It’s not.”

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Cervara still knew it wouldn’t be that simple as he admitted Miami was the better tournament for Medvedev but claimed that the 27-year-old’s assumptions that he couldn’t play well in Indian Wells often sealed his fate before he stepped on the court. “But it’s going to be different because playing in Indian Wells is very specific with the surface, the heat, the cold, the dryness, the balls…” he continued.

“Miami is something else, but there’s no reason he can’t play well there. In the past, his approach to the playing conditions and how he feels about his tennis at the moment has brought his level down.” And the French coach knew that Medvedev himself was going into the tournament with a different mindset this year thanks to the confidence that his winning streak brought him.

“It gives a lot of hope and expectation,” he said of the world No 6’s three-successive title wins. “That he’s going there to win and that there’s a hopefulness that’s emerging from the context, yes, absolutely.”

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It’s a stark contrast to his mentality going into Rotterdam, where the 27-year-old had “nothing” after a third-round exit at the Australian Open before going on to win the title there – the first of his three in a row. “I remember a training session with Felix Auger-Aliassime two days before, we are on the centre court. And what is happening is unreal. He’s looking for all the reasons why he can’t win. And I’m just standing there, as if I’m on ice, I’m deliberately not answering. I know he’s challenging me,” Cervara said of Medvedev’s pre-Rotterdam preparations.

“And with me, things go up, my sensations go up so that I can give him, at the right moment, levers on which he can hang on. Because I know him, I feel that it’s getting inside him. I know that he will end up doing something with it. He has this amazing ability.” But Medvedev’s coach also explained that everything changed when he got on a winning streak that boosted his self belief and was now coping it could extend into Indian Wells.

“Once it’s in, once it’s on, everything that happens behind it, all the victories, it’s him, it’s just him. That’s where it starts and then it goes up in flames. Right now it’s a meteorite, it’s catching fire and it’s continuing its trajectory by being ignited,” he explained. “The question becomes: how long will it last? We have to make sure it lasts as long as possible and that it can continue there, in the Masters 1000.”

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