Medvedev to focus on more spin, improved sliding on clay

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Madrid Open - Park Manzanares, Madrid, Spain - May 2, 2023 Russia's Daniil Medvedev in action during his round of 16 match against Russia's Aslan Karatsev REUTERS/Isabel Infantes

(Reuters) – World number three Daniil Medvedev said he wants to focus on playing more spin and sharpen his slide to develop his game on clay as he gears up for Italian Open this week.

Medvedev has previously described himself as a “hard court specialist”, having won 18 of his 19 titles, including the 2021 U.S. Open, on hard courts.

The 27-year-old, known for his flat groundstrokes and all-court coverage, arrives in Rome on the back of a quarter-final exit at the Monte Carlo Masters and a last-16 defeat in Madrid.

Asked about what he has to do in order to play good tennis on clay, Medvedev told reporters on Tuesday: “Play definitely some more spin. Especially the sliding, I think the sliding was always a problem.

“After Madrid, after I lost, a couple days I practised there I tried really a lot to focus on the sliding, on the movement. I felt like I improved in these couple of days.”

Despite not being the biggest fan of clay, Medvedev reached the Monte Carlo semi-finals and Barcelona final in 2019.

The Russian said he has been pleased with his form while practising in Rome and hopes to build on it during the tournament.

“I always said the thing about clay is I don’t have enough time… You don’t have that much time to practice,” he said.

“I was not missing many balls here these last two days. It was tough for my opponents. Again, you never know. I say all this, but maybe first match is not the case. But is good to have some good practice.”

Medvedev will begin his campaign against Ugo Humbert or Emil Ruusuvuori.

The Italian Open runs until May 21, with the French Open Grand Slam beginning in Paris a week later.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)

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