Toronto: Russia’s Daniil Medvedev has returned to his tennis heaven with the summer hardcourt season starting Monday in North America at the Toronto Masters.
The world No 3 is seeded second behind Carlos Alcaraz due to the absence of Novak Djokovic, with the Serb leaving it late to prepare for the US Open which begins August 28.
“I feel great on the hardcourt, my game suits it,” Medvedev, 27, said in the tournament run-up. “But it’s easy to lose also - there are so many guys who want to win.”
Medvedev, with 20 career titles, has earned half of them on his preferred outdoor hardcourts.
“I feel my best on hardcourt; on clay and grass I have more things (bothering) my body.
“On hardcourt I feel very fluid,” he said as he awaits a second-round opening opponent from Canadian wild card Vasek Pospisil and Italian Matteo Arnaldi.
“I’m very happy here, let’s see where it goes.”
The winner of the Canadian trophy two years ago, has already had a weekend practice hit with top rival Alcaraz, the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion who heads the field.
The 20-year-old Spaniard has defeated one of his top rivals in two of their three previous meetings, with the Spanish prodigy winning their last two including the Wimbledon semi-finals in July.
“We had a great practice,” Medvedev said.
“He was playing only the day after he flew in. Even if it’s just six hours (time change) your body is still tired after the flight.
“It was good to have this one (hit-out), I’m no better prepared for the tournament.
“I don’t train every day with my rivals but it can happen a few times per year.”
He added: “I want to do well here, there is always a little bit of pressure but you put up with it and deal with it.
“I don’t know if it’s climate change, but every ball on the Tour seems to be getting slower after a few games.”