News ID: 319483
Published: 1018 GMT January 18, 2022

Medvedev motors into Australian Open second round, laments 'impossible' schedule

Medvedev motors into Australian Open second round, laments 'impossible' schedule
BRENDON RATNAYAKE/REUTERS

Russian Daniil Medvedev is in action against Swiss Henri Laaksonen at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, on January 18, 2022.

Daniil Medvedev conserved his energy after his shortest ever off-season with an efficient straight-sets win over Swiss battler Henri Laaksonen on Tuesday to reach the second round of the Australian Open.

US Open champion Medvedev, favoured to win the title at Melbourne Park following Novak Djokovic's deportation, had only 14 days' rest at the end of 2021 before firing up for Russia's run to the ATP Cup semi-finals this month, Reuters reported.

The cramped tennis schedule has been a bugbear for players for years, with many complaining of the physical toll, but Medvedev could see few solutions.

"It's impossible, and yes, it's definitely not enough (off-season)," the Russian told reporters after his 6-1 6-4 7-6(3) win in the afternoon sun at Rod Laver Arena.

"If you want to represent your country every year in Davis Cup and if you are every year in the finals, well, it becomes impossible.

"So you'll have to sacrifice something. Sometimes your body will tell you what you have to sacrifice, sometimes you will have to decide.

"And it's not easy decisions because many people will be against your decisions."

Medvedev had little need to test his fitness on Tuesday as he cruised through the first two sets against world number 91 Laaksonen.

The Finland-born Laaksonen dragged him into a proper dog-fight in the third set and produced scintillating tennis to keep in touch in the tiebreak but ultimately faltered with a pair of unforced errors to concede three match points.

Medvedev converted the first of them to seal victory on his return to centre court a year after he was destroyed by Djokovic in the 2021 final.

Medvedev, who turned the tables on Djokovic in the US Open decider to claim his first Grand Slam title, said he would have loved to test himself against the nine-times champion Serb again at Melbourne Park.

"I remember last year where I was like, 'Well, okay, that's a good challenge, trying to stop him'. (I) was far, far away from doing that," he said.

"So, yeah, actually I like challenges, so I would love to have this chance again to play him maybe in the final or something like this here in Rod Laver.

"Even if he beat me or not, it's a good challenge and I like challenges in my career."

 

Further misery for Djoko

 

Djokovic may not be allowed to defend his French Open title in May after the French government ruled that all athletes will have to be vaccinated in order to attend and compete in sporting events in France.

The French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu has announced that athletes would not be exempt from France’s COVID pass, which will soon come into effect for over-16s, the Guardian reported.

“The vaccination pass has been adopted. As soon as the law is promulgated, it will become mandatory to enter public buildings already subject to the health pass (stadium, theatre or lounge) for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals,” she wrote on Twitter.

Earlier this month Maracineanu had suggested that athletes could be exempt from France’s vaccination requirements through a “bubble” system but the government have now scrapped any such plans.

Djokovic arrived back in Belgrade, Serbia, via Dubai on Monday after being deported from Australia following the cancellation of his visa by the Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

 

   
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