Daniil Medvedev says he is not feeling any real increase in pressure after he started his US Open defence with a comfortable win over Stefan Kozlov.
The world number one will be the favourite again this year, especially with Novak Djokovic absent, and he laid down a marker on day one.
“I definitely don't want to forget about them (the memories of last year),” Medvedev said after the 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 win. “I mean, a little bit extra pressure but mostly, I mean, I don't feel it, to be honest. Like for sure I want to play good.
“Probably the only pressure is that I know if I'm not gonna play good here for whatever reason, that people might say, ‘yeah, defending champion lost, whatever.’
“I'm not really sensitive to this. Like, I know what I have to do. I know that I want to play well and if I don't do it, I will not care that I won it last year, I will just be disappointed that this year didn't work out my way.
“And, for sure it gives me a lot of confidence, because I always played good here. I remember last year were some crazy matches. I mean, to be honest, all of them were really high level from me.
“That's what I want to continue doing this year. Always loved playing in US Open, so I want to continue love playing this year.
One reason that Medvedev has such a good record in New York is how fast the courts usually are. That is something that suits his powerful baseline game immensely, and he believes they are as quick as ever this year.
“Yeah, for me US Open was always quick,” he explained. “The only time I felt it a little bit slow when I came here for quallies but I didn't have yet the opportunity to play on the biggest stages of the world, so every court I was playing was pretty fast because many challenger, futures are played on fast surfaces. We were playing at night. I felt like it was super slow. I guess it was the wrong feeling.
“Yeah, the courts feel pretty fast. It was pretty hot today and humid. I see the other guys coming from five-setters in the locker room with red faces. That's also fun in a way sometimes to get through these conditions.
“Even today, the match was maybe not that intensive and long, but, yeah, I sweated a lot and it was not easy.”
All in all, it was an incredibly solid start for Daniil Medvedev, and he was certainly pleased with how it went – although he does know much tougher tests await.
“First match, never easy,” Medvedev said. “Stefan, it may seem for sure from the first sight he doesn't have any amazing shot but yet he's close to top 100. He's a great player, and I know him since juniors.
“He's always tough to beat, so I'm happy that I managed to find the right rhythm today. I feel like I was serving not bad. My shots were not so bad. Few unforced errors here and there, but especially the third set was the best set from me.
“Yeah, pretty happy with the outcome and with the match itself.”
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