Andrei Medvedev

Born: August 31, 1974 in Kiev (Soviet Union)
Height: 1.93 m
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Андрій Медведєв… His career progressed rapidly. Not being widely recognized on the junior scene before, representing the disintegrating Soviet Union, he won the junior French Open ’91 as a sixteen-year-old boy, not dropping a set, defeating his peer Thomas Enqvist in the final. A few months later, he was ready to compete at the main level, and reached the semifinals in Geneva, where he lost to Thomas Muster in two tie-breaks. As a Ukrainian, he began the ’92 season in April and achieved valuable results, winning three titles, including the Stuttgart Outdoor at the Rochusclub, with the strongest draw in the tournament’s history. The teenager, ranked No. 100, needed nine consecutive wins (three in the qualifying rounds, began it losing a bagel set) to secure the trophy, defeating five seeded players who were showcasing different styles: Alexander Volkov, Emilio Sánchez, Stefan Edberg, Muster, and Wayne Ferreira in the final after five sets, squandering a match point at 5:3 in the third set. The following year he claimed another big clay-court title in Barcelona and reached the French Open semifinal. Pundits began discussing him as a potential world No. 1, and the “King of Clay” in the 90s.
However, a series of injuries thwarted his plans. I’d argue that Medvedev’s development stalled in July of ’94, so before he turned 20. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly happened; my loose theory is that he matured too quickly. By his early 20s, he began to experience hair loss, a phenomenon observed in other guys such as Andre Agassi, Nikolay Davydenko, and Ivan Ljubičić, players who enjoyed the peak of their careers approaching 30 though. During a particular week of 1999, Medvedev dropped to No. 100, yet paradoxically, being in big crisis he played the event of his life at Roland Garros. Neither Pete Sampras in round 2 nor Gustavo Kuerten in the last 8 managed to defeat him before the final, in which he led 6-1, 6-2, 4-all against Agassi when the American hit the line with his second serve on mini-match point. Perhaps only a few centimeters separated Medvedev from a straight-set victory. That moment completely changed the momentum, and the Ukrainian lost in five sets, marking the most important loss of his tennis life. Medvedev cried afterward, as did his namesake – a tennis melodrama created by two young, but already bald men. Medvedev stated that he regained the required self-confidence to play at the highest level, and another Grand Slam final would be a matter of time. However, one year later in Paris, he was completely outplayed in the fourth round by Magnus Norman, who was on his way to reach the only major final of his career.
Over the years, Medvedev excelled on clay courts, where he had more time to execute his flat groundstrokes (exquisite backhand down the line) and dropshots. However, he also had the skills to make an impact in faster conditions in spite of his rather wooden volley technique. He achieved good results on all surfaces; on grass at Wimbledon ’94, he played one of the tightest matches in the tournament’s history against the legend of those courts, Boris Becker. On carpet in Paris ’93, he somehow survived four consecutive matches against players better suited to indoor conditions (in the semifinal he had to withstand the adversity of the French crowd too), only to be defeated in the final by Goran Ivanišević.
His mother, Svetlana, was a coach in Kiev, where young Andrei and his sister Natalia Medvedeva began to play tennis (together they reached the Hopman Cup ’95 final lost to Germany; Medvedev faced his girlfriend Anke Huber on the other side of the net). Like his older sister, he retired prematurely, a few years before turning 30. However, before it happened, he managed to participate in more than 200 events, making it difficult to polemic that he hadn’t played enough to experience everything that tennis at the highest level has to offer. Trivia: in 1998, within a few months, he defeated Ivanišević twice, saving match points in deciding tie-break sets; first at Indian Wells (7-6, 2-6, 7-6), then in Monte Carlo (4-6, 6-2, 7-6). Despite “only” 11 titles, he collected four Masters 1K trophies, three of them in Hamburg (1994, 1995 and 1997) – he enjoyed the chilly weather there. The fourth one, chronologically first, comes from Monaco. In the most successful, first years on the tour, he was coached by Oleksandr Dolgopolov, the father of Alexandr Dolgopolov, the future No. 13. As a kid, Dolgopolov jr. was a frequent visitor of tournaments in which the best Ukrainian player to date participated.
Career record: 321–213 [ 221 events ]
Career titles: 11
Highest ranking: No. 4
Best GS results:
Australian Open (quarterfinal 1995)
Roland Garros (runner-up 1999; semifinal 1993; quarterfinal 1994)
US Open (quarterfinal 1993)
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1 Response to Andrei Medvedev

  1. Voo de Mar says:
    Activity: 1990 – 2001

    Five-setters: 13–11 (54%)
    Tie-breaks: 111–89 (55%)
    Deciding 3rd set TB: 19-9 (68%)

    MP matches: 7-7
    Defeats by retirement: 8
    Walkovers given: 2

    Longest victory: French Open ’93 (1R)… Guillermo P-Roldan 6-7, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4… 3 hours 46 minutes
    Longest defeat: Wimbledon ’94 (4R)… Boris Becker 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6, 5-7… 4 hours 53 minutes

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