Daniil Medvedev did not need the points from Sunday’s triumph in Marseille to replace Rafa Nadal as world number two but the Russian said it was a great feeling to claim a 10th ATP title as he climbed another rung on the ladder.
Medvedev’s rise up the rankings was confirmed earlier this month with Nadal not playing tournaments since the Australian Open to recover from a back injury.
With the official release of the rankings on Monday, Medvedev became the first player outside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Nadal to be ranked in the top two since Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005.
The celebrations started a day earlier for the 25-year-old when he won 6-4 6-7(4) 6-4 against unseeded Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the final of the ATP 500 event.
“I knew that I would become No.2 no matter what on Monday … It is always better when you step up the rankings when you do something great,” Medvedev said.
“I know that winning here didn’t give me the points to become No.2, but it is great for the self-esteem that just before becoming No.2 on Monday, I win a tournament.”
Medvedev reached the Australian Open final last month, his second Grand Slam decider after the 2019 U.S. Open, on the back of a 20-match winning streak through the Paris Masters, ATP Finals and team-based ATP Cup that included 12 straight wins over top-10 opponents.
His run ended with defeat to world number one Djokovic in the Melbourne final, and he then suffered a shock loss to Serbian Dusan Lajovic at Rotterdam.
After that blip, however, Medvedev was back to winnings ways in Marseille where he picked up his 10th Tour title — all on hardcourts.
“I am really happy about the number 10. It gets me to two digits, something which I dreamt of when I was a kid,” said Medvedev.
“I think it is already a great number, but I am going to try to work more and get some more … I really like to play on hard courts. I feel like that is where my game suits me the best.”