• AFP-JIJI

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Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev, who is coming off the biggest win of his career after capturing the U.S. Open title last month, is hoping to carry that success over to the tournament that begins this week in Indian Wells, California.

The 25-year-old Medvedev won his first Grand Slam title last month while also preventing Novak Djokovic from becoming the first man since the legendary Rod Laver in the 1960s to win all four Grand Slam events in the same year.

“It was a big dream come true for me,” Medvedev said after practice on Thursday. “I am motivated. I came here prepared.”

Since his dominating 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Djokovic, Medvedev has been receiving a lot more attention in public, especially from people who now recognize him in restaurants.

“Everybody talks about you in the media, the newspapers and in Russia of course,” he said. “Some people texted me that I hadn’t seen for a long time.

“A lot of people tried to pay for me in restaurants. Sometimes I try to refuse it. I don’t see why to accept it from people I don’t know. It is funny, but strange anyway.”

Medvedev’s win came after heartbreak in his previous Grand Slam finals. He came close to winning the 2019 U.S. Open, but lost in five sets to Rafael Nadal. Djokovic defeated Medvedev in the Australian Open final earlier this year.

He lost just one set during the U.S. Open while earning $2.5 million and is the first Russian to win the event since Maria Sharapova in 2006.

Medvedev has never been ranked higher than second in the world. But now that he has his first Grand Slam title under his belt, the obvious next step is to shoot for world No. 1.

Medvedev didn’t make any changes to his schedule after the U.S. Open, opting against taking time off to avoid becoming complacent.

He spent his time between the U.S. Open and the Laver Cup, where he was part of Team Europe’s win, in Boston before heading to Los Angeles for a week of training at the UCLA tennis facility in Los Angeles.

“I haven’t left USA after U.S Open because I knew I had the Laver Cup and Indian Wells coming up,” he said. “My coach decided the best thing was to practice in Los Angeles.”

Medvedev wants to play in the Australian Open in January, but declined Thursday to say whether he had received the COVID-19 vaccine. Australia’s has some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Medvedev didn’t say whether he is a vaccine skeptic, instead describing his secrecy as a strategic move.

“I don’t talk about my medical. I have had a lot of injuries. That’s how I protect myself from competition of the other players. I want to keep my medical private for me and my family.”

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