Daniil Medvedev has admitted to telling a mistruth after he progressed through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. On Wednesday afternoon the No.3 seed dug deep against No.9 seed Hubert Hurkacz to win a gritty five-set war 7-6 2-6 6-3 5-7 6-4.
After the Russian's fourth-round win over Nuno Borges, Medvedev explained why he returns from so far behind the baseline. The World No.3 is widely viewed as one of the best returners on the men's tour and talked through his positioning with Jim Courier, providing viewers with a unique insight into the tennis player's game plan, or so we thought.
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Just days later when Medvedev faced Hurkacz, he seemingly changed his deep returning position altogether, a fact pointed out by American John McEnroe after the match. When questioned by the US great about his returning change up, the Russian revealed the insight wasn't completely false but he never intended on returning from deep against Hurkacz.
"It was funny because after (the interview with Courier) in the press conference they were also asking about the return and they were like, 'When do you decide sometimes to go forward?'," he said.
"In my mind, I knew that against Hubert, (who has) an amazing serve and volley, he's probably the only one where the ball - even if I stay really far back - it continues to go up and never really goes down, so I'm like, 'Hmm, it doesn't really work to stay there'.
"Talking to Jim, talking in the press conference after I was like, 'I know next match I'm going to stay close, but I'm not going to tell it to you guys right now'. A little surprise here and there and I'm glad that it kind of worked."
The win against Hurkacz sees Medvedev progress to his third semi-final at the Australian Open. He will face No.6 seed Alexander Zverev in the next round.
Daniil Medvedev plays down fatigue concerns
The 27-year-old does not believe his taxing Australian Open campaign will affect his hunt for a third consecutive grand slam semi-final. The two-time Open runner-up took three hours and 59 minutes to secure a spot in the semi-finals.
His second-round battle against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori earlier in this year's tournament also was a monster match that went all five sets and didn't finish until 3.39am. After walking off the court after that match Medvedev wrote on a camera: "Just want to sleep now".
The Russian will meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-final on Friday and while he admits he is always wrecked after the match he will be ready to go. "After every match, I'm in the locker room. I'm destroyed," he said.
"One day off is probably enough to feel good the next day. So far, so good at the beginning of the matches, and that's what matters. Then try to win, and then if you're dead after, doesn't matter because you have a day off." Djokovic and Jannik Sinner won their quarter-finals on Tuesday, meaning they have an extra day off to recover than Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.
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