In a press conference at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship, Roger Federer commented on the two Russian highest ranked players, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev. They had quite big breakthroughs in the 2018 season. Federer faced Medvedev at the 2018 Shanghai Masters opening round, winning in a tight, three-set match.
"I feel, number one, they've improved greatly," the Basel native admitted. "Not that they were bad before, not in any way. Just in terms of results, ranking, I thought they were good players. Medvedev hasn't been around for long.
I haven't practiced with him enough. What I saw, it was all right. Then he started going on a tear sort of the last year or so, year and a half I'd say even. What gets our attention is people winning tournaments, the top guys, 500s, 250s, 1000s.
What's difficult in the game of tennis is to close out events. When you do that at that level or just win many titles over a six-month period, I think it shows they have the game. If they can do that, they can do more. You can expect more from them.
That is what is going to happen from them, maybe even if Khachanov has a bit of a hanger right now. Who cares, he has a thousand points in the bank from Paris. Those are going to stay in the system for a while, so he has time.
Medvedev seems to be on a very good run. He's very consistent. Takes the big shot at the right time. He's found his attitude. Both seem very nice, open. I chat with them on a daily basis. It's the kind of guys you're also happy to practice with.
I'm happy that we have good Russian guys and players on the tour right now, up-and-coming." Last year, Medvedev made a funny claim: "I would choose myself, Zverev and Roger Federer on Virtual Tennis."