Daniil Medvedev, who is the reigning Nitto ATP Final champion, has already secured a place in the semi-finals this year after taking first place in the red group at the Pala Alpitour.
The Russian is trying to become the first player to win back-to-back titles in the season finale since Novak Djokovic triumphed in four consecutive editions from 2012 to 2015.
ATPTour.com caught up with the world number 2 to find out more about his trophy race last year, how he enjoys Turin and what his favorite Italian cuisine is.
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What stood out in your race for the Nitto ATP Finals title last year?
The greatest memories were the semi-finals and the final. Of course, I remember every game, every game was difficult. But in the semi-final I was down, Rafa [Nadal] served for the game.
I remember I felt like I was playing well. I was in great shape, I had just won Paris. I was there and I was like, “Am I really going to lose like this 4 and 4 and come home?” The house was near. It was the last tournament of the year so I didn’t want to end that way and I was just glad I made it through, because you won’t make it [back] all the time, especially against someone like Rafa.
In the final against against Dominic [Thiem] it was the same. He completely dominated me for much of the game. I think at 3-3 or 4-4 he had a few break points and I remember he had one, it was kind of an easy forehand. I was at the net and he missed it. But that’s tennis.
I managed to win both games, they lasted two and a half hours, two hours and 45 minutes. These two games remain in my memory because they make the title even sweeter.
Photo credit: Corinne Dubreuil / ATP Tour
What do you think of the transfer of the tournament from London to Turin?
It’s definitely different. It’s a different city, a different place. It takes a while to get used to. I feel like the first few days it’s still not easy when you come to a tournament you are playing for the first time.
Everyone asks me how I feel as the defending champion. I always answer that I have the impression that there is no defending champion. He’s just a new champion in a new city, which is Turin. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, mostly because I play well. I hope for more.
What is the particularity of Italian fans?
Italian fans are passionate. We have a queue in front of our hotel, rain or shine. Of course a little more when the weather is nice! It shows how passionate they are about tennis. I think we try to give them back [to thank them].
What is your favorite Italian cuisine?
To be honest, I love Italian food so much, but I’ll have to go for panna cotta because I love sweets and it’s really, really good in Italy. I took it two or three times before the tournament because during the tournament I don’t eat sweets.