Geneva | Medvedev crashes out on return

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev, who has been pushing to replace Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings, suffered a blow to his chances of achieving that goal when he lost his opening match at the Gonet Geneva Open and basically ruled himself out of contention for the French Open which starts on Sunday.

Physically I felt not bad. With more days of practice, I should be ready for Roland Garros Daniil Medvedev

It was the Muscovite’s first match since undergoing surgery for a hernia following his quarter final loss in Miami, and there will be no further chances for him prior to Roland Garros after his 6-2 7-6(5) loss to the French veteran Richard Gasquet.

Medvedev said it was hard to look beyond Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as favourites to win the second Grand Slam of the year but added he would be working hard to sharpen his game before Paris.

“I don’t play my best tennis on clay courts. I know that I’m capable of making some good results, as I did in the past. But for this, I kind of need to be in the zone,” Medvedev told the media.

“I don’t feel as confident on clay as on other surfaces, that’s why I lost 7/5 in the tie-break finishing with a double fault. It’s disappointing but I’ve had tougher losses in my career.

“Physically I felt not bad. With more days of practice, I should be ready for Roland Garros.”

Last year the 26-year-old from Moscow reached the quarter finals where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I haven’t played for a month and a half, two months. I’m going to try to work both physically and tennis-wise and hopefully I can find the game I had there last year — which is not going to be easy,” he continued.

“Clay for my body is the most dangerous surface — every time, every year I have some problems where I cannot be 100 percent.

“I’m not a favourite for Roland Garros but I do want to play well. If I can find my level again, I can be dangerous.”

It was the first time 35-year-old Gasquet had defeated a top-two player since beating Roger Federer in 2005 — his only other victory over a top-two opponent in 38 attempts.

“It’s a great victory for me and it’s incredible for me to win against Daniil, even if he’s coming back from injuries,” Gasquet said.

“It’s a great moment and that’s why I still continue to play and try to do well.”

The former world number seven, who underwent hernia surgery himself in 2019, was surprised by the speed of Medvedev’s comeback.

“The first match after surgery is always difficult, so I knew it was tough for him but I know how good he is,” he added.

“He has come back quickly because two months off is not a lot after an operation. It’s impressive. It will take time for him to get back to his best.”

Gasquet, the world number 75 faces Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak in the quarter finals on Thursday.

Richard Gasquet shakes hands with Daniil Medvedev after their match




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