Former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov says that Daniil Medvedev has become a very popular sports figure in Russia right now and can become bigger than all ice hockey players or football players if he continues to do well on the professional tennis circuit.
Kafelnikov is a former world No. 1 from Russia and is a fairly well recognisable figure in Russian sports as well - he won two Grand Slam singles titles - the 1996 French Open and the 1999 Australian Open, as well as a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Kafelnikov says Daniil Medvedev has become much more recognisable in Russia
Speaking to the ATP Tour website, Kafelnikov says, "Medvedev with his results has definitely [increased] his image and he has become a much more recognisable sports figure in the country for sure.
If he continues like this he might become bigger than all ice hockey players or football players. That’s totally in his hands, whatever he does on the court. If they [all] continue their success, they’re definitely going to be more recognisable”.
The 24 year old Russian had a big breakthrough on the ATP Tour last year - when he reached six consecutive tournament finals, including the 2019 US Open and three at Masters 1000 events. He is through to the quarter-finals of the US Open once again this year where he has not dropped a set in four matches so far.
He will next meet fellow Russian Andrey Rublev for a spot in the semi-finals. With the absence of the Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer from the tournament, and the sudden exit of Novak Djokovic on Sunday through his default, Medvedev is now among the top favourites for the men's title in New York.
After his most recent win over American Frances Tiafoe, Medvedev hiis runner-up finish last year in New York has helped him believe in himself more. "I think the main thing I learned, that I'm able to play in a Grand Slam final against one of the best tennis players in the history of the sport, being in his top shape.
I was very close to win. I gave him a great fight. I was able to hold physically. That's all the small things I learned there." Daniil Medvedev has a career-high ATP singles ranking of world No. 4, which he achieved last year in September. He has won seven ATP singles titles, including two Masters 1000 titles.