Some players choose to get into “the zone” before their matches, blocking everything out and focussing solely on their preparation. Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev and other members of Team Russia chose differently on Thursday evening, watching the thrilling finish in the Australia-Great Britain ATP Cup quarter-final before their own tie against Argentina.
The first tie of the Final Eight in Sydney went to a deciding doubles match, with Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios saving four match points to defeat Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 3-6, 6-3, 18-16. Khachanov, his coach Fredrik Rosengren, Medvedev, Medvedev’s wife and Konstantin Kravchuk were watching intently from Russia’s Team Room.
“After they finished the match, I went to the gym to lay down [for] like 10 minutes to have my own thoughts and try to concentrate,” Khachanov said. “Because sometimes when you are too excited and too emotional to watch some other matches, you lose energy. That’s what basically you don’t want to have before you go on court.”
“We were going crazy, and of course Murray not finishing the match was quite crazy, but it happens. This is tennis,” Medvedev said. “The match was unbelievable. As soon as it finished, we’re, like, ‘Okay, okay, calm down. We have our match to play.’ It was funny to watch, and we were completely into it. Yeah, [it] was [an] amazing match to watch.”
The ATP Cup consists of 24 teams across cities, all vying for one of eight spots in Sydney in the Final Eight. So throughout the tournament, players have had their eyes on other ties, not only to see who they could potentially face later on in the event, but to enjoy the intensity of the competition.
“I love to watch tennis. So when I’m in my room and I have my time, my free time, I like to watch some other matches, and while I’m resting,” Khachanov said. “And so far I was following matches in Brisbane and Sydney before, when we were in Perth.
“[I was watching] yesterday [the] match between France and South Africa, Paire against Anderson was really intense and exciting to watch. I think France against Serbia, the deciding doubles [that Serbia won 10-3 in a Match Tie-break], also. Yeah, many matches. There are a lot of good players here, almost all top players. So all of the matches are exciting to watch.”
Medvedev is also not just a tennis player, but a fanatic as well. The Russian said that he’s watched the ATP Cup whenever he could, whether at the hotel or the physio room.
“If there was tennis on, [I watched]. I like to watch tennis,” Medvedev said. “I saw the tie-break between Team Germany and Team Greece in doubles, which was simply astonishing, also.”
Khachanov believes that the camaraderie of the teams and the intensity that has led to spirited matches throughout the inaugural event make for a great way to start the season.
“One hundred per cent. I think everybody supported this idea to make it the beginning of the year in Australia, under ATP Cup,” Khachanov said. “I’m enjoying [it] so far. Everything is well organised. Three cities, you have everything what you need.”