Misc Tennis

Gear Gains Key to Clay Breakthrough

Medvedev: Gear Gains Key to Clay Breakthrough

By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, May 22, 2023

Making determined tracks through the Eternal City, Daniil Medvedev reached a dirt landmark.

Medvedev defeated Holger Rune 7-5, 7-5 in the Rome final to capture his maiden clay-court championship.

More: Rune Dethrones Defending Champion Djokovic in Rome

World No. 2 Medvedev owns at ATP-best five titles this season. Eighteen of Medvedev’s 20 career championships have come on his favored hard courts.

Tennis Express

The 2021 US Open champion credits two key allies for his clay breakthrough: soles and strings.

Medvedev says the Tecnifibre strings he switched to at the start of the season help him generate easier power which means his flat drives maintain depth on the slower dirt. The 6’6″ Medvedev, who wears Lacoste shoes and clothes, said he’s coming out of the corners on clay with more self-assurance this season thanks to a shoe change.

A case of a star simply promoting his sponsors? Medvedev says these specific gear gains helped him make a major step forward on dirt, which had been a sink-hole surface for much of his career.

“First of all, I was not moving well enough, and my shots didn’t have enough depth,” Medvedev said after winning Rome. “Again, it’s not because I’m sponsored by Lacoste or Tecnifibre I’m going to say this. I think strings help me, the new strings I try this year, because they are just softer so the ball goes easier. Straightaway in Australia actually where I lost, with my coach we were like, Wow, I have the easy depth on the ball, which is amazing. In Australia, didn’t work.

“I was 100% doubting myself. Should I go back to the old ones, I was playing good with it? I said no, let’s try more. Now it’s unbelievable.”

Of course, you can have new shoes and strings and still not produce the dynamic tennis Medvedev played in Rome where he won 12 of 13 sets played.

That’s a product of a quality you can’t buy online: self belief.

“About the movement, it’s either a practice or new shoes this year. Maybe I’m feeling better with them,” Medvedev said. “I managed to move well and hit the deep ball. It sounds easy, but that’s the toughest part in tennis. You want to play deep and you miss. That’s what happened to me the previous years.

“Here this week I managed to do everything in my mind. I managed to make it real. That’s how I managed to win.”

Photo credit: Internazionali BNL d’Italia

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