Daniil Medvedev 2022 Year in Review

Daniil Medvedev Cincinnati

Daniil Medvedev began 2022 near the top of the tennis world. He finished 2021 at world #2 coming off his first major title at the US Open and led Russia to the Davis Cup title to close the year. Expectations were deservedly high, especially on hard courts where he had dominated. 2021 saw him capture four titles, three on hard court, as well as reaching the finals at the Australian Open, Paris Masters, and ATP Finals. Medvedev was poised to be the top player in the world this year and for years to come, but 2022 brought adversity both on and off the court.

Daniil Medvedev 2022 Year in Review

Australian Open

With defending champion Novak Djokovic not allowed to play the event, Medvedev was the favorite to win the Australian Open and earn his second straight major title. Rafael Nadal’s layoff due to injury further added to Medvedev’s chances, as few thought Nadal could come back at 100% at compete with the current young generation. Medvedev did face a difficult draw despite his seed, having to get through Nick Kyrgios, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and rival Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the final. He saved match point against the Canadian in the quarters then set up a final matchup against Nadal, who had looked excellent all tournament.

The final looked to be all Medvedev after a dominant first set then a second set tiebreaker to take a commanding lead. At 2-3 0-40, the match seemed to be over with three break points in Medvedev’s favor. Nadal fought back to hold and quickly broke to take the third set. Though the match was an epic battle throughout, Nadal won the key points and came back to take the match in five sets in the second longest grand slam final in history. Medvedev struggled with a hostile crowd and the disappointment of losing such a close battle seemed to hamper him for the following months.

World #1 and Injury

In February, Medvedev made history when he achieved the world #1 ranking after passing Djokovic. This was the first time since 2004 that a player outside the big-4 had held the top spot. However, he soon lost the ranking after disappointing performances in Indian Wells and Miami. A hernia procedure kept him off the clay, playing just one match before the French Open. However, he managed to salvage a Round of 16 appearance, his second best result of his career at the tournament.

Tumultuous European Summer

Medvedev faced significant turmoil over the summer after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian players. Medvedev entered three grass events before Wimbledon, making two finals though failing to capture a title. His mental focus was likely affected by the war started by his home country, on top of the punishment by Wimbledon. However, the ATP came out against the ban and as a result did not award points for the event. In an odd turn of events, Medvedev became world #1 again after Wimbledon despite not being able to compete.

Fall Hard Court Swing

Medvedev entered the final hard court swing of the year in a strange spot. Though he was the top-ranked player in the world and the reigning finalist of both hard court majors, he came to North America with zero titles to his name in 2022. He quickly changed that in Los Cabos where he beat Cam Norrie to capture his first title of the year. Looking to repeat his Canadian triumph the year before, he faced a tough second-round draw where he lost to rival Nick Kyrgios. While a semifinal appearance at the Cincinnati Masters was more positive, he fell to another rival Stefanos Tsitsipas to fail to hold the title at the first seven masters.

Entering the US Open, the #1 spot was up for grabs for a number of players, though it was Medvedev’s to lose were he to repeat as champion. However, he again drew an early matchup in round four against Kyrgios, who defeated him in four sets. He won the title at the ATP 500 event on indoor hard in Vienna to add a second trophy on the year. He entered the final two events with a lot of points to defend, as the reigning finalist at both the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals. Medvedev seemed out of gas, losing his first match in Paris and all three round-robin matches at the year-end championships, to drop in the rankings to #7.

Overall Review

The season was a disappointment for Medvedev, primarily due to the lofty standards he set for himself the prior two seasons. He began strong being just a few games away from a second consecutive major title but never found consistent form the rest of the year. He likely struggled mentally both after the brutal loss in Melbourne and off the court with the Russia-Ukraine war. Winning just two titles and both at lower-status events was not the year he wanted to look back on.

There will be plenty to build on for 2023. Medvedev is still in the top-10 which is plenty respectable. The other benefit of a disappointing year is if Medevedev can find his earlier form, he has fewer points to defend and can quickly climb up the rankings with good results. It is hard to tell which Medvedev will show up next year, but he showed enough flashes of brilliance he can certainly climb back to the top of the tennis world next season.

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