Daniil Medvedev arrived at Paris looking to build off his performance in the Italian Open, and show that he could finally make a deep run at the French Open.
Instead he’ll have to look for the positives as a qualifier sent him packing in the first round.
Thiago Seyboth Wild stunned the tennis world on Tuesday, bouncing the second-seeded Medvedev out of the first round, winning 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.
Seyboth Wild entered the French Open needing three wins to get into the field, and as the 172nd-ranked player in the world.
Medvedev was ranked No. 2 heading into Paris.
The 2021 U.S. Open winner has historically struggled on clay — at one point declaring “[y]ou like to be in the dirt like a dog” during a loss on the surface in the 2021 Italian Open — but Medvedev’s run to the Italian Open title improved his record to 10-2 on clay this season.
“I always want to believe in myself and I always want to win the biggest tournaments in the world. But at the same time, I didn’t think I could win a Masters 1000 on clay in my career because usually I hated it, I hated playing on it. I didn’t feel good on it and nothing was working,” said Medvedev after he defeated Holger Rune to win in Rome.
“Before this tournament already in Madrid and Monte-Carlo I wasn’t feeling too bad. I thought, ‘OK, let’s continue’. Then when I came here I felt so good in practice and I told my coach, ‘I don’t know what is happening but I am feeling amazing, so let’s see how it goes,’ he added. “But then you have to play the toughest opponents in the world to try to make it. I am really happy I managed to do it and to prove to myself and everyone else that I am capable of doing it.”
After the loss, Medvedev praised his opponent, and how he was able to play in the conditions and take control of the match. “[Big hitters like Seyboth Wild] have big advantage with these balls, because they can create easy power, which I don’t have,” Medvedev said. “That was a little bit the case today. He was controlling almost all the points, and I was suffering a lot.”
The loss drops Medvedev’s record this season on clay to 10-3, as that part of the calendar comes to a close. For the Russian, that might be a welcome silver lining.
“Because of the wind, dry court, I had a mouthful of clay since probably the third game of the match, and I don’t like it,” he said after the loss to Seyboth Wild. “I don’t know if people like to eat clay, to have clay in their bags, in their shoes, the socks, white socks, you can throw them to garbage after clay season.”