Alex Corretja believes Daniil Medvedev will be a future world No. 1 and has praised his “high level of intelligence” and “ability to manage situations”.
Medvedev had a strong 2021 season as he reached the Australian Open final, won the US Open and reached No 2 in the world.
While he still faces a battle to overtake Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings, Corretja thinks he has all the qualities to be the best.
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“He's a cool guy, he's a guy that's going to be, in my opinion, No. 1 in the world, 100 per cent, and he's going to win more Grand Slams because his opponents are not going to be able to find a way to beat him,” two-time Grand Slam finalist Corretja told Eurosport.
“He has a way of playing that is almost effortless, and he enjoys that suffering as he enjoys provoking people a little bit, be it in Madrid, be it in New York, be it in Australia, he needs to feel that he is part of the show and that your way of being is almost misunderstood.
“And for me, one of the things he enjoys the most is when he starts to feel that people don't understand the way he acts. That's when he grows up and thinks he's totally won the whole situation. He doesn't care if it's in Australia, in Spain, in New York. He wants to distract you, throw you off the scent.
"You don't understand why he does it, but he knows perfectly well; it's like a chess game, a chess game where you move your pieces knowing exactly what your next move is going to be. And not everyone is able to read it.”
Medvedev has shown on the big occasion that he does not need the support of the crowd to succeed.
At the US Open, he fed off boos and jeers from the fans, and he did the same at the Davis Cup finals as he helped Russian Tennis Federation beat Spain in Madrid.
'Highlight of week was beating Spain in Madrid' - Medvedev amid crowd boos
“People still don’t understand how to make me lose; they should support me,” he joked afterwards.
Corretja says he does not find Medvedev “disrespectful” and thinks he is manipulating the situation to his advantage.
“He never oversteps the boundary of how he says it. He does it in a way that's like he's touching you here in the nose, but he's not hitting you. He's like letting you get hot, letting you get upset, letting you lose your temper. And then he says, 'I got you, I'm exactly where I wanted to be'.
“He plays with people's heads, because people don't have his vision or have his ability to manage these situations. He does.
“Medvedev loves the show, he knows perfectly well what he says and how he says it, he knows what he wants to achieve and why he wants to provoke. He loves to be part of the show and has a personality that I understand that people get a little nervous, that they do not understand him or that his statements irritate them a little bit, but he does everything with mischief and intelligence that particularly catches my attention.
“I think he's a very smart player, who knows perfectly well how he has to bother, and he gets it. Honestly, I find it more and more interesting to see Medvedev, both on and off the court. His comments always come loaded with a very great emotional intelligence that proves that he is a very deep guy.”
Medvedev will be one of the favourites at the 2022 Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on January 17.
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