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View Full Version : Andrei Medvedev, great talent but entirely forgotten.


Ted Ghost Shackley
04-17-2007, 03:58 PM
Anyone know what Andrei Medvedev is up to these days? I remember watching him in the early nineties at the French Open when he was touted as the next great champion. I was lucky enough to sit next to his girlfriend Anke Huber on an outside court and watch him dismantle a good player; at the time I thought this lucky man has it all.

He then disappeared until losing to Agassi in the '99 French final and quickly disappeared again. Is he still involved with tennis?

!Tym
04-17-2007, 04:38 PM
He was one of my favorite players of all time. He played just like Kafelnikov but had a little more firepower from the baseline.

Medvedev's problem was that he simply didn't love tennis, as a kid, he was basically forced to play tennis by his mom who was a coach; but the problem for him was that he was a natural at it and once he started getting all the free rackets and stuff he said what the heck, I guess this is the life for me.

Lepeshekin (sp) was the old school coach who said about Medvedev's decline, the Russian guys need to stick with the Russian guys because only Russigan guys get Russian guys. In other words, one he dumped me, and the pushing stopped, he dropped like a rock, because he wanted to enjoy the good life too much with the fast cars and partying and overnight millionaire status he was greeted with.

After he choked away the French final, he said, he was devastated; the problem was that instead of making the guy burn even more inside, he decided to immediately take two or three months off, and I think played just one match before facing Kafelnikov at the US Open that year, a match he lost easily.

Then, right before he retired, he lost Jamie Delgado at Wimbledon, and said, he's the kind of person where you can't tell him what to do, because he won't do it, unless he feels like it. He also said, that he knows he still has the talent and that there's no one out there that he can't beat when he puts his mind to it.

He also said that he doesn't know if he'll try and regroup for one last run or not or retire, because right now he really didn't have the desire and he can't fake it.

His best friend on tour was Bruguera...who by the way, had similar tendencies, either motivated or not, and went out similarly, though as one of the most injury prone players of his generation, he had MUCH more of an excuse for fading out in a semi-retired, semi-not, I'm not sure if I really want to give it my all anymore, mode.

Medvedev's problem was that I think he was a guy who needed to be GIFTED a slam trophy, THEN he would have woken up. Otherwise, he was just too lazy (look at how his physique evolved through the years, went from uber skinny, cute kid, to having walrus fat all over his belly), didn't TRULY love the sport (still think he liked it, but there's a huge difference between liking a sport because its what you're best at and loving a sport, just ask Stich about that).

He also did have some injury problems mid career, but more so I think his problem was simply that he was too stubborn. He NEEDED someone to push him over the hump, but the problem was that once he got rich enough, he fired anyone who would push him according Lepeshkin.

When he made the French final, he was basically already on the verge of hanging it up. He went up with Agassi at a club just before the tournament, and he said to hang in there, that he was at a similar road a few years ago, and that he had the talent and it would turn around. Then, bam, he make the finals ranked I believe like 66 or something at the time, knocks out the defending champion Kuerten in straight sets in I think the second round, and has Agassi in the ropes in the final.

Really, that was an absolute GIFT from Agassi, he was choking so bad, but Medevedev was on fire too. He let it slip away, BUT the important thing to note is that while he may have let it slip away, AGASSI didn't just GO AWAY.

That's the difference between someone who deep down has the heart of a champion and a true passion for the sport, and the forever class clown with "potential" who suddenly finds himself in the finals one day, and says, hey wait a second, I can skip all the *in between* steps if I win this one match, get all the glory, get the shiny trophy, get the moolah, my sponsors will love me again, my country will idolize me again, etc.

Medvedev just went away, whereas Goran, lazy and flaky as he was, when he got devastated when he choked away what he thought was his last chance at Wimbledon against Sampras? Remember that? I do, he was basically crying end of world, and didn't even care about the Croatia world cup team when it was brought up, that's how dejected this nationalistic life of the party loveable Goran was...

BUT, the difference is that Medevedev was devastated too, INITIALLY. ANYONE would be INITIALLY. The difference is that if you TRULY have the passion, you don't just walk away the way he did and say eh, I don't know if I still want to do this even though I know I have the talent and can still beat anyone out there if I want to.

Goran, in other words, at the end, was deeply troubled by a serious shoulder problem, goes out in the first round of *qualifying* at the Australian Open. AND, then swallows a bunch of pain killers to save up for ONE LAST RUN at Wimbledon...and BOY didn't he play inspired? Almost as if, gasp, his life was on the line and THIS was his "last chance"? The key difference is that he MADE his last chance when theoretically his body/shoulder couldn't hold it.

Medvedev on the other hand, basically just got hot, for two weeks, finds himself in the French finals, chokes it away, and goes on a long vacation, not playing tennis at all during that time to clear his mind and "get over" the devestation of it all...umm, yeah, there's still another slam coming up, the US Open...which he basically what? Tanked. Yeah, that's the way to get back on the saddle again, and MAKE your next "last chance."

!Tym
04-17-2007, 04:39 PM
With that said, still loved the luggable lug. Still, wish he would join the seniors tour, lol.

Ted Ghost Shackley
04-17-2007, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the smart and complete update, !Tym.

jmsx521
04-17-2007, 05:26 PM
Thank you !Tym: brilliant as always!

CyBorg
04-17-2007, 06:17 PM
Medvedev is a family man. He's also an artistically conscious man (very intelligent guy). I'm not sure why we should celebrate someone like Ivanisevic over him.

Sure Ivanisevic will go down as the better player. But is he the better person for having more passion for the sport?

I doubt it. Probably the other way around.

federerfanatic
04-17-2007, 06:31 PM
He was one of my favorite players of all time. He played just like Kafelnikov


Medvedev and Kafelnikov were 2 of my least favorite players of all time. When they were on I usually flipped the channel, unless they were playing somebody I liked so much I couldnt resist but watch and endure them(and the people I liked enough to endure Kafelnikov or Medvedev usually beat ended up beating them for what it is worth).

pj80
04-17-2007, 09:39 PM
Medvedev is a family man. He's also an artistically conscious man (very intelligent guy). I'm not sure why we should celebrate someone like Ivanisevic over him.

Sure Ivanisevic will go down as the better player. But is he the better person for having more passion for the sport?

I doubt it. Probably the other way around.

oh i'd pick goran over medvedev any day.

urban
04-17-2007, 10:39 PM
In addition to the quite complete analysis of Tym, it is to be said, that the Russian players of the 90s had some cultural problems with the new free life in the West. Medwedew loved the fast life, fast cars (Porsche), women, even gambling (at Baden-Baden), when he lived near Karlsruhe in Germany. That resulted in the loss of dedication to the game and hard training. In 1992/3 he looked like the new Borg, was feared and highly praised by a man like Muster, who thought he wasn't in the same class on clay.

!Tym
04-18-2007, 12:35 AM
Medvedev is a family man. He's also an artistically conscious man (very intelligent guy). I'm not sure why we should celebrate someone like Ivanisevic over him.

Sure Ivanisevic will go down as the better player. But is he the better person for having more passion for the sport?

I doubt it. Probably the other way around.

Yeah, I actually tend to agree with you that. Won't say about who's the better person, but just that like you; I don't value valuing "tennis" over all else as being the end all determinant of whether I personally like a player.

Tennis is, well, just tennis.

What I admired about Medvedev off the court was that he was as you said an artistically conscious man, he was also his own man, and I think deep down a genuinely good guy. I think, however, that much of the flak he now receives is because of the early perception of him when he first blew up onto the scene with a ton of hype. Back that, he looked this fresh-eyed, teenager, almost like an overgrown, gangly, teddy bear. His delightful press conference candor, the way he would play around with his coache's little son on the court, his budding romance with equally wide-eyed Anke Huber, etc.

In other words, the marketers saw a CLEAR way to market this guy as this lovable, teddy bear, young at heart, bright eyed, innocent guy who just happened to be a smashing and promising tennis player as well.

Problem was that in reality, Medvedev IS a charming guy at heart, BUT he is ALSO a much more complex person that IMAGE too. In reality, the guy is a stubborn individual who feels strongly about his beliefs, is a candid realist (not just in the funny, ah, isn't that so cute, self-depracatory way), and is interested in more than just tennis.

In many ways, he was a lot like Michael Stich. But Stich, never had the weight problems Medvedev would soon encounter. Stich, also had the big serve to carry him through bad or indifferent days much more so than Medvedev. As stated, Medvedev was basically a Kafelnikov clone, except with a little more firepower. However, his game still revolved around being a clean ball striker who was good at everything, but not necessarily out of this world, win a match single-handedly with, at anything.

Kafelnikov and Medvedev are examples of all-around solid players taken to the max. Both, had crummy heads though. Kafelnikov, however, was more commited to tennis than Medevedev though. Say what you will about Kafelnikov, but he was a guy who stuck around and kept himself sharp year round without the lulls of Medvedev, because Kafenlikov was an infamous in-it-to-collect as much money as possible hound.

Medvedev I think, he was the type where once he got ENOUGH money, it was enough. He could take it or leave it. Kafelnikov was much more of a matter-of-fact, machine about it. You make as much money as you can before you retire and let yourself turn into a walrus in six months flat.

I think with this said, however, Kafelnikov DID get a *little* lucky. It's not like Thomas Johansson level luck in winning his slam, but just enough where you have to seriously question if he had drawn Muster instead of Stich in the finals, would he have won? Had Sampras not been injured at the Aussie, would he have won?

He matched up well with Stich, especially considering it was clay, but Medvedev had to play peak Bruguera at the French two years in a row deep in the draw, and he played like a buzz saw in the zone in those matches. If not for that, would he have won? Well, he beat Berasategui in the first round the next year in 95 didn't he? It's very possible he could have, still would have been a tough and legitimate slam victory, but like I said Kafelnikov DID get a little help in my opinion.

And even still, Medvedev SHOULD HAVE won a French anyway. Maybe if he had drawn oh say the heart of a Coria or Gaudio in that finals instead of Agassi digging deep for his life, he would have pulled through.

But, hey, that's life.

Personally, I think Medvedev was a little better than Kafelnikov at his best, because his ball was a little more on your heels penetrating. Kafelnikov was a big guy, Medvedev was even bigger. He also needed a little less swing than Kafelnikov to generate his pace. In fact, it's hard to think of anyone with more efficient and compact swings than Medvedev, who could strike the ball as penetrating as Medvedev could.

spadesss
04-18-2007, 09:59 AM
i remembered him losing to agassi in the FO finals.
what stuck to me memory was his so call love to his gf Huber (spelling?) at that time. the commentators kept on bringing up his personal life with Huber.
he dumped her (or the over way around) and that was the end of him.

MonkeyPox
04-18-2007, 10:21 AM
He seemed like another talented guy wasting his talent because he wanted to party. How many pictures did we see of him gambling and partying all night and then losing in the first round of tourneys. Then just sort of disappearing and show up again, driving a race car and then disappear again. I hope Safin watched all that. If he did he didn't seem to learn any lessons.

Kafelnikov might not have been as talented, but he sure was a LOT smarter about his priorities.

Moose Malloy
04-18-2007, 10:22 AM
His name pops up on a lot of 'youngest' lists:

Youngest players to crack the top 10:

Aaron Krickstein 17 years, 11 days
Michael Chang 17 years, 3 months
Boris Becker 17 years, 7 months
Mats Wilander 17 years, 10 months
Bjorn Borg 17 years, 11 months
Andre Agassi 18 years, 1 month
Andrei Medvedev 18 years, 9 months

Youngest Masters Series winners:

Michael Chang 1990 Canadian Open 18y 5m 7d
Rafael Nadal 2005 Monte Carlo 18y 10m 14d
Rafael Nadal 2005 Rome 18y 11m 5d
Rafael Nadal 2005 Canadian Open 19y 2m 11d
Rafael Nadal 2005 Madrid 19y 4m 20d
Andrei Medvedev 1994 Monte Carlo 19y 7m 24d
Andrei Medvedev 1994 Hamburg 19y 8m 7d

Interesting that he made his only slam final so long after all his early promise(he was ranked 100 when he made the FO final in '99)

Has made finals on all surfaces(grass, clay, carpet, hard) & qualified for a Masters Cup at 19.

As stated, Medvedev was basically a Kafelnikov clone, except with a little more firepower.

Medvedev was on tour before Kafelnikov(even though Andrei was younger) Medvedev ended '93 in the top 10, while Kafelnikov wasn't even top 100 then.
I think he was more talented than Kafelnikov.

Goran, in other words, at the end, was deeply troubled by a serious shoulder problem, goes out in the first round of *qualifying* at the Australian Open. AND, then swallows a bunch of pain killers to save up for ONE LAST RUN at Wimbledon...and BOY didn't he play inspired? Almost as if, gasp, his life was on the line and THIS was his "last chance"? The key difference is that he MADE his last chance when theoretically his body/shoulder couldn't hold it.


As you've stated before, you can still stay competitive if you have a big serve. Medvedev had to work a lot harder to get to the FO final ranked 100 than Goran did in winning Wimbledon at 125 since he didn't have that weapon.

CyBorg
04-18-2007, 12:16 PM
http://www.medvedev.org/en/index.html

Andrei's website. He seems very happy in retirement with a big family and lots of interests.

!Tym
04-18-2007, 12:23 PM
Medvedev was on tour before Kafelnikov(even though Andrei was younger) Medvedev ended '93 in the top 10, while Kafelnikov wasn't even top 100 then.
I think he was more talented than Kafelnikov.



As you've stated before, you can still stay competitive if you have a big serve. Medvedev had to work a lot harder to get to the FO final ranked 100 than Goran did in winning Wimbledon at 125 since he didn't have that weapon.

Wow, learn something new every day. I didn't know that Medvedev was younger than Kafelnikov. Kafelnikov was touted as an elite talent as well, so that says something. You know it's a sad day in tennisland, when Yevgeney Kafelnikov is held up as a bastion of stick-to-it-ness and commitment as compared to yourself.

Haha, but yes, you're right about the serve thing. Guys with big serves were able to stick around for one last run even when they weren't as all commited, healthy, like Stich and Goran's final runs at Wimbledon, or Sampras' final run at the US Open. Like, Goran, he decided to save himself for that one last run. Had he not run into Pioline on a career day, he very well might have won after all as his game certainly matched up better with Sampras' than Pioline's. Also, Stich wasn't a choker like Goran or Rafter, and if he managed to get Sampras on the ropes in a last Wimbledon final appearance, I don't think he would have let Sampras off the hook.

That said, I think Kafelnikov's serve while not great was good, he spot-placed it very well, bit of a pancake flipper motion, and not much racket head speed, but it was consistent and not bad...now, if he were Chang's height, of course, it would have been abysmal. Chang actually had a very good motion, racket head speed, and linkage in his serve, very smooth; sucks for him his limbs were so stubby though.

I think that Medvedev's first serve was much more of a weapon than Kafelnikov's. It just always felt more forceful to me, and he also placed it very well. His diguise was also very good because his motion was so simple and compact. I don't think his second serve was as good as Kafelnikov's though. He telegraphed the kick serve motion very much so like Bruguera and Berasategui did. Neither Kafelnikov's 1st or 2nd serves would blow you away, but the drop off from one to another, wasn't that dramatic. I basically just felt like he slowed down his motion a little for his second serve. He didn't really have much of a kicker. Just good, solid, no non-sense stuff coming from a guy who was very big and very tall.

This said, I think Kafelnikov's motion was so laid back, almost like a warm-up serve motion, such that he ended up saving a lot of wear and tear on his body over the long span, and I think why he was able to maintain his marathon man status as far as playing so much (and raking in the dough) year in and year out.

...also, you're right about Medvedev. I got him mixed up with Guga who was ranked 66 or so coming into the 97 French.

Would you more or less agree by the way that Medvedev and Kafelnikov were basically the same player in terms of style of play/attributes, just that Medvedev had slightly more penetrating, heavier, groundstrokes?

AndrewD
04-18-2007, 06:06 PM
He played just like Kafelnikov but had a little more firepower from the baseline.

I look at him as being a lot closer to Safin. Have a look at the shot production and you can see the similarities. Look at the temperament and you'd swear they were related LOL. Medvedev might have had more shot making talent, although Kafelnikov's return was far superior, and hit a bigger ball BUT he wasn't as good a finisher as Kafelnikov and wasn't anywhere near as versatile (Kafelnikov was an exceptionally good doubles player, mainly due to his returns but the serve and volley were very, very solid).


Really, that was an absolute GIFT from Agassi, he was choking so bad, but Medevedev was on fire too. He let it slip away, BUT the important thing to note is that while he may have let it slip away, AGASSI didn't just GO AWAY.

Off topic but that's the sentiment that isn't applied often enough to Lendl's 84 F/O win over McEnroe.