Medvedev: Diriyah Tennis Cup ideal preparation for Grand Slam


Saudi Gazette report

Some of the greatest men’s players on the planet can use the upcoming $3 million Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia as ideal preparation for the Australia Open, says one of its big-name competitors.

World No. 4, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, is one of six confirmed names heading to the Diriyah arena in the UNESCO world heritage site for the first three-day international tennis tournament to be staged in the Kingdom, presented by Saudi Aramco starting Dec. 12.

It’s been a breakthrough year for the fan favorite, reaching six consecutive tournament finals, including one at the 2019 US Open and two at Masters 1000 events with a career high ranking of No. 4.

Now Medvedev believes the competitive nature of the Diriyah Tennis Cup can provide an ideal platform to build on that success, especially with the first Grand Slam event of 2020, the Australian Open taking place a little more than a month after the Saudi Arabian tournament.

Medvedev said: “Saudi Arabia will be a big part of my preparation for the new season. Coming to Saudi Arabia the heat and conditions will be similar to Australia. It will be a great test for us.

“It’s in our pre-season so we’ll want to get that match time in to prepare for the new season — but the fans should expect us to fight hard like in any tournament. It will be competitive and hopefully they’ll be lots of fans coming to support us there.

“Hopefully I can play some great tennis, help the country raise awareness of the sport and inspire people to play. Looking at the players confirmed it’s a really great field. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Saudi Arabia. I’m excited to promote tennis there especially as it’s the first tournament.”

The tournament is part of the Diriyah Season, an epic month of showcase sports events being hosted by the GSA. The Diriyah Tennis Cup showdown has confirmed six leading players to date for the inaugural tournament. As well as Medvedev this includes three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Talented world No. 12, Fabio Fogini, who was the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title this year in Monte Carlo, and highly-rated David Goffin (Belgium), the former world No. 7, will also compete in Diriyah.

The big American John Isner, with over 10,000 aces on tour, and five-time ATP champion Lucas Pouille of France, an Australian Open semifinalist this year, complete the current line-up. Officials will name the final two players in the coming weeks.