It used to be that playing in a home country tournament was nice but more stress than some players could handle. Many would use the time to rest while others, guilty of neglecting their country's ability to have a town hero would struggle and not have good results.
Players faced the double indemnity of wanting to play in their home country but the townspeople's desires for the players to win were incredibly harsh. The rising player Bianca Andreescu just barely recuperated from a shoulder injury decided to play the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada to the delight of all Canadians around the world.
She did well and went to the finals, winning the first set and leading three games in the second. It was just her luck that her opponent Serena Williams had to retire due to a bad back and gave the match and title to Andreescu.
It was a few years earlier that the All-American U.S. Open final seen Sloane Stephens win over her friend-opponent Madison Keys in a heart-wrenching match. Rafael Nadal often called 'the King of Clay' for victories on clay especially Barcelona was defeated out of his crown this year by Austria's Dominic Thiem on Rafa's home turf.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga just capped his eighth title at the Moselle Open in France and Naomi Osaka won the Toray Pan Pacific title in Japan. Daniil Medvedev plays a feisty, gritty game and wouldn't let it happen to him as those thoughts swam through his head entering the St.
Petersburg Open. He enjoyed reaching five straight tur finals won Cincinnati but losing finals in Montreal, Washington and the U.S. Open. Then his rise at St. Petersburg came as round by round he felt the momentum build to win over each opponent in front of the Russian fans and tennis community Medvedev had beaten out two fellow Russians Evgeny Donskoy and Andrey Rublev, blasting 19 aces between the two matches, but he wondered if and when the other racket would drop or would it be on him.
He fought a hard battle in the semifinal against Belarusian Egor Gerasimov but had the answers to most rallies and won in straight sets of 7-5, 7-5. It was his last final challenge for the title dueling with the agile Croatian Borna Coric who kept him always thinking and upping his level of play from cross-court to down the lines and volleys.
He prided himself on creating many struggles and problems for his opponents. He makes it difficult for them to get winning returns and he professes that "..In the second set, they just drop because of it." In the opening set at St.
Petersburg, Medvedev was looking at leveled games of 2-all but the Russian put on the gas, making incredible shots and it wasn't long that Coric was only allowed one more game before Medvedev closed out the set at 6-3.
The second set was a hard-fought one especially for Coric who seen the gritty opponent lead 5-0. It was disheartening for the struggling Croatian who did get one game on the scoreboard before bowing to the eager Russian at 6-3, 6-1 for a title well earned.
Medvedev isn't without his jokes in the face of failure and says after his loss at the Open to Nadal that "..You guys were pushing me to prolong this match because you want to see more tennis and because of you guys, I was fighting like hell."
He fights like a tyrant in all of his matches making him an opponent that players know they have to bring their 'A' game to dismantle his.