Russia’s Roman Safiullin was glad he had a chance to start the year at the ATP Cup and spend some time with world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.
Safiullin, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 145 in the world, started his Australian Open qualifying campaign with a convincing 6-1 6-4 win over Bernard Tomic.
Russia made the semifinal at the ATP Cup before losing to Canada.
“It was a great opportunity to start the year (at ATP Cup), especially to use these matches as a practice before qualifying for Australian (Open) … It’s great to see how these guys are thinking and working on some things,” Safiullin said, per the Australian Open website.
“Daniil (Medvedev) also shared some things with me. It helps a lot.”
Safiullin played well at the ATP Cup
The Russia ATP Cup suffered major blows when Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev tested positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the tournament.
Safiullin won two and lost two matches at the ATP Cup.
After beating Arthur Rinderknech in his ATP Cup opener, Safiullin revealed what Medvedev told him before the match.
“It feels great to win the first match, to get the point for the team and now we wait for Daniil to go out and show his tennis,” Safiullin said, per the ATP Cup website.
“The second set was really tight and I tried to make as many balls as I could and put pressure on him.
“Before the match Daniil said to go out and play with no pressure, just to play my best and fight for every point.”
Before the start of the ATP Cup, Medvedev revealed how he once feared Safiullin.
“He was super tough to beat in juniors. I don’t think we’ve ever played as professionals, but when I knew that Roman was in my draw in juniors, I was shaking. We played a lot of finals, semi-finals, a lot of matches, some were like three-hour, three-set matches. A lot of fun,” Medvedev said of Safiullin.