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‘I don’t think I’m a bad boy!’ Daniil Medvedev on image and ‘dream’ of passing Roger Federer (VIDEO)

Russian tennis world no. 4 Daniil Medvedev has described passing Roger Federer in the ATP Race to London as a “dream” but insists it “isn’t for him to decide” whether he deserves the ‘bad boy’ tag bestowed upon him by some fans.

Medvedev is perhaps the hottest player in the sport today having reached six straight ATP tour finals, winning three, and clocking up more victories than any other player this year with 59 victories, including 22 in Masters tournaments.

The most recent of those for the spindly 23-year-old Muscovite’s last match was a thrashing of Alexander Zverev in the Shanghai Masters final to clinch his third tour title this season in a sixth straight final.

The victory saw him leapfrog all-time great Roger Federer into 3rd place in the ATP Race to London on 5, 875 points to the Swiss’ 5,690, something he described as a “dream”.

“It’s an amazing feeling because I would never have dreamt in my career to reach six finals in a row and not just six finals, three were Masters 1000 and one of them is a Grand Slam final which is something exceptional,” Medvedev told RT Sport at Moscow’s Kremlin Cup 2019, in which he also announced he would not take part, citing fatigue.

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“Passing Roger in the race is also something probably I dreamt of as a kid to pass Roger in the ranking and still do it when he’s perhaps not in his best shape but still when he’s playing every week, he’s trying to get points. It’s just great I’m happy about my performance. I don’t want to stop I want to be better every day.”

One of Medvedev’s six finals was a losing effort against all-time great Rafael Nadal at the US Open, a tournament which announced Medvedev on the world stage not only as belonging among the elite, but as a ‘bad boy’ figure after flipping off a chair umpire and repeatedly swapping verbals with the crowd in Queens.

Nevertheless, Medvedev’s scorching form has managed to shift talk from his acerbic outbursts to his game, and although the bad boy tag may still precede him, Medvedev believes that despite his tendency to “blow up so fast” and become “emotional” he isn’t entirely deserving of the role.

“Talking about ‘bad boy’, I’ve always said it’s not for me to decide whether I am or not because in 10 years (if) we’re still talking about this it means I am a ‘bad boy’,” Medvedev said.

“But I don’t think I am. I can be emotional, I can make some mistakes just because I blow up so fast but I do think people see the real side of me and its for them to decide whether I am or not.”

Medvedev is tipped to go one better than that famous US Open final and clinch one of the big four Grand Slams as early as even next year, becoming the first male Russian player to do so since fellow Moscow native Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open, something he admits is on his radar.

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Safin was also famed for his emotional outbursts, and perhaps it is no coincidence that the two share a tempestuous nature.

Medvedev could also catch 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer in the ATP world rankings before the season is out, in doing so entering the trio of world’s best players alongside Nadal and the world’s current best player Novak Djokovic.

Exerting the reservedness he insists is more in his nature, Medvedev insisted he is taking his ascent and future plans step by step.

“My first goal I always said is to win every match I play no matter which tournament I’m trying to take first tie or the final. Because you cannot be in the final if you don’t win the first round,” Medvedev admitted.

“The more matches you win the better you are in the ranking, the more chances you have to become the number two number three number one in the world and the same for Grand Slams.

“Of course it’s on my mind to win a Grand Slam, to be again in the final, to be again in the semi-final. So I just want to play good to improve every day in practice and to be a better player.”

Whether a bad boy or good guy, one thing is for sure: Daniil Medvedev’s incredible rise up is showing no signs of stopping and looks set to continue into 2020.

By Danny Armstrong in Moscow