Daniil Medvedev went down to a shocking loss to his compatriot Aslan Karatev and, not for the first time, came out all guns blazing.
Second seed Medvedev complained about the gap behind the start as he suffered a 7-6(1) 6-4 loss to qualifier Karatev. Australian Open Semi-Finals.
That success catapulted Karatev into the top 20 of the ATP rankings, but he has since slipped down the ranks and was pleased to see some of his best performances to see off Medvedev.
«I’m feeling good, I’m playing well,» said Karatesev, who qualified for the main draw in Madrid.
«I just have to focus on all the matches, so I’ll prepare for the next one… [Against top players] You have to concentrate more, you have to be 100 percent, you have to concentrate more because they don’t give you any free points.
“You have to be consistent and mentally strong, so I think I’m doing well.
«I was struggling last year and I’m very happy with my game now, so we’ll see what the next round brings.»
It’s hard to know how to rate Medvedev’s chances on clay courts with the French Open just around the corner.
A lot of large weapons are neutral on red clay, the ground bullets lack punch when they are swallowed by clay.
That’s one point of frustration for 2023 players who say they will struggle to find a solution this part of the year.
«My biggest expectation is to try to play well, get a feel for the game and put my opponent in trouble,» he said.
«When I’m playing well, even on clay, I feel like I can beat good guys, play good tennis and be in tournaments like this year in Monte-Carlo.»
«It’s time to try to fix some little things, make some adjustments and play better. Because of the altitude, I probably play better in Madrid than in other clay court tournaments.
«Every year is a new opportunity, this year is different and I will try to play the best.»
Medvedev may be looking forward to the start of the grass court season as he will be allowed to play in UK events this year after a ban on Russian players.
His struggles on clay are unlikely to end anytime soon, and his hopes at the French Open may be limited to an appearance in the second week of the tournament.
However, don’t underestimate Medvedev’s form this season.
It will be a threat when the grass courts are revealed next month and then during the US hard court season, when he will be the leading contender to win all the big titles.
Read more: Is Carlos Alcaraz the clear favorite to win the French Open?