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The winner of the 1989 Junior Wimbledon and an Olympian and three-time junior champion in China, #22-ranked Daniil Medvedev is headed to the U.S. Open as a wild card. Medvedev, 21, has earned 11 singles titles in 2017.

On coming to the Open:

I’m really looking forward to the US Open,” Medvedev told NPR. “It’s a historic event, it’s my home event and I’m excited to play there.”

What about the US Open crowds?

“It’s really interesting to see what kind of reaction my American fans will give to me,” he says. “It’s totally different from the audience in China.”

Medvedev praised the audience in the Grandstand. “I think that I can think about a whole crowd being on our side in China, but here I’ve seen the capacity of the US fans to rally together around your own country,” he said.

What have been your toughest matches in 2017?

“It’s a very tough question,” he tells NPR. “It’s been a very long year, there were some really tough matches this year. Maybe the first few months were really tough for me.”

Were you disappointed in your results in the Australian Open?

Yes, Medvedev tells NPR. “I think I could have done better. But overall, I think I had a really good year.”

Why do you think your winning streak (11 titles in 2017) was so long?

“In a tennis tournament, there’s 20,000 fans and they create a really strong atmosphere, and the main goal of the tournament is to win it for them,” he says. “That’s really a beautiful feeling to play in front of your own people.”

Can you think of some challenges in the coming year?

“There’s so many,” Medvedev tells NPR. “Two of the biggest tournaments in the world, Wimbledon and the French Open, are going to be in June. The grass season. There are always so many big tournaments at the end of the year, and I think it’s difficult to keep focus, keep everyone focused on tennis. But I think that’s the key for success in sport: keeping everyone focused on tennis, keeping everyone on the same page, and we can do it.”

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