June 18, 2024

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are extra than simply opponents. They’re like household.

However that doesn’t matter when they’re standing throughout the web. One participant wins, the opposite loses. There isn’t any in between. The athletes each need the identical factor, however just one can earn it. That might be no completely different when Medvedev and Rublev conflict inside Arthur Ashe Stadium for a spot within the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday.

The 2 males are fierce rivals. However a sure consequence or scoreline won’t change the truth that Rublev is the godfather of Medvedev’s 11-month-old daughter.

“I believe we’re actually shut mates. I believe we’ve an incredible relationship even when on the court docket we’re huge rivals,” Medvedev mentioned. “I believe nothing goes to, let’s name it, come between us to separate us in actual life. We’re actually shut.”

Almost 20 years in the past, Medvedev and Rublev had been like every pair of juniors competing. They might pull out each trick within the ebook. They might lob each other from the baseline to attempt to win. The participant shedding would typically whine, even cry. The opposite would do every little thing to maintain it that means. What child likes to lose, anyway?

“Each of us had been loopy on court docket. Destroying the racquets, complaining,” Rublev mentioned on the 2020 US Open. “What I bear in mind from him, he was all the time one of many largest fighters that I ever noticed in my life since he was, I do not know, seven years outdated. He might play lobs perhaps for hours simply to win. I do not know. I bear in mind we had just a few battles after we had been fully youngsters.”

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Based on Medvedev, he didn’t have the power and weapons in his recreation as a junior to complete factors.

“I used to be all the time on observe attempting to play aggressive, perhaps going to the web and stuff like this. Then there was a match going, I began to do it, I am shedding 3-0, the match is as much as 4, the set. I am like, ‘No, again to lobs’,” Medvedev recalled in 2020. “I all the time hated to lose. Possibly even the higher mentality for a child can be to attempt to keep on with his recreation plan or one thing like this. On the identical time it is all the time good while you need to win additionally.”

As Medvedev and Rublev grew older and commenced to advance by means of the professional ranks, their relationship developed, too. Being a fly on the wall after they banter forwards and backwards can be like a front-row seat to a comedy present.

“Andrey will get actually, actually indignant in the event you name him Jannik as a result of he appears to be like like Jannik Sinner a little bit bit,” Medvedev mentioned in the course of the break in play in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Throughout this Australian Open he comes into the locker room and I mentioned, ‘Hello Jannik, how are you?’ He bought indignant, he [went] away for 10 minutes, got here again 10 minutes later, and goes, ‘You’re Davydenko then!'”

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev at practice together in Monte-Carlo.
Medvedev and Rublev at observe in Monte-Carlo. Picture: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
When collectively, Medvedev and Rublev are all the time having enjoyable. Typically, they’re on the identical facet of that enjoyable. Different instances, it’s on the different’s expense. However that camaraderie has expanded past friendship. Rublev is the godfather of Medvedev’s first little one, who was born final October.

“He is very form,” Medvedev mentioned of Rublev. “He is non secular, in order that’s essential to be a godfather. So it was sort of a simple choice.”

“Clearly we constructed our relationship due to tennis,” Rublev mentioned. “However now it is already greater than tennis. We all know one another, I do not know, since we had been six perhaps or one thing.

“We have now an incredible relationship. He is tremendous trustworthy, tremendous relaxed. It is tremendous simple to speak with him. Very humble. On the identical time he is actually, actually humorous. Then while you spend time with him, you all the time have enjoyable.”

However on Wednesday, that relationship won’t stop the celebs from doing every little thing of their energy to achieve the US Open semi-finals. Medvedev takes a 5-2 Lexus ATP Head2Head collection lead into the conflict, in addition to an edge in big-match expertise.

The 27-year-old gained the 2021 US Open and is 6-1 in main quarter-finals. What could be stunning is that Rublev has really been to the quarter-finals at Grand Slam tournaments extra typically — eight instances — however has misplaced all of them. When Medvedev has been in a position to buckle down within the highest-pressure moments and depend on his pesky baseline recreation, Rublev has struggled to keep away from spiraling uncontrolled with unforced errors.

However the 25-year-old has gained two of their previous three conferences and can attempt to safe the largest breakthrough of his profession after earlier this season claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo. As shut as Medvedev and Rublev are, that won’t matter inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It is nice to have somebody like this on tour as a result of generally it may be not simple. You journey, journey, journey. To have a good friend like that is nice. Not way more so as to add,” Medvedev mentioned. “However once more, on the court docket we each need to win. We aren’t going to be mates in two days.”

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