Daniil Medvedev will take to the court for the first time on Tuesday since the Australian Open final, in which he lost to Jannik Sinner in five sets.

Ahead of the former world number one is the defense of the title at the tournament in Dubai, which he will have to spend in a slightly different status.

During his almost month-long absence from the tour, the Russian fell out of the top 3 in the world rankings for the first time since April last year, giving way to his recent offender.

The fact is that Daniil immediately lost 750 points, since he did not come out to confirm two trophies won a year earlier - in Rotterdam and Doha.

This season, the domestic tennis player, apparently, has decided to significantly reduce his playing load, devote more time to rest and recovery between tournaments, as well as to communicate with his family.

He indirectly confirmed this on the eve of the start of the Australian major.

As you know, Medvedev refused preparatory starts in Adelaide and Brisbane, explaining this with a desire to experiment and celebrate the New Year at home for the first time in his career.

The idea turned out to be quite successful, and the tennis player made it to the decisive match, although he spent more than 24 hours on the courts of Melbourne, thanks to which he set a TBS record.

Daniel arrived in Dubai with his wife Daria and daughter Alisa, whose presence will certainly have a positive effect on his psychological state.

The winner of the US Open 2020 received the first seeding number from the organizers, and his starting opponent will be former compatriot Alexander Shevchenko, representing Kazakhstan this season.

They met each other only once - in Madrid 2023, and then Medvedev lost the first set, but managed to take the next two.

Shevchenko was not too happy to meet the reigning champion in the first round and even joked that the draw should be done again.

“To beat him, you need to give it your all, hoping that Daniil will perform a little below his average,” noted Alexander.

Overall, Medvedev's grid does not look overly complex.

Presumably, his opponents in the second and third rounds will be Lorenzo Sonego and Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina.

The Russian has never lost to either one or the other.

However, we can expect a surprise from the opening of February, 18-year-old Jakub Menshik, who reached the final in Doha, forcing Andrei Rublev to sheath his racket. 

But, most likely, the favorite’s first serious test will await him in the semi-finals, where he could face Hubert Hurkacz or Hugo Humbert.

Both can be called inconvenient rivals for the Russian: the score of personal meetings with the Pole is equal (3:3), and he is completely inferior to the Frenchman in this indicator (1:2).

The favorites in the lower part of the bracket will also be the Russians - Karen Khachanov, who showed great tennis the previous week in Doha and got even for his compatriot in the final with Menshik, as well as Rublev himself.

It is worth recalling that it was his longtime friend that Medvedev beat in the final last year, simultaneously leaving Borna Coric and Novak Djokovic out of action, and without giving a single set to their opponents.

Thus, in the UAE, Daniil will have the opportunity to break two series at once.

Firstly, he has not won the final of an ATP tournament since May 2023, when he took the cup at the clay Masters in Rome.

After that, he reached the decisive matches four times, but did not win any of them, and lost to Sinner in the last three.

And secondly, never in his career has Medvedev managed to win the same tournament twice, and this year he will have only three such chances, which certainly adds motivation.

A new person on the team, Gilles Simon, should provide him with important assistance in achieving these goals.

Information that the famous Frenchman started working with Medvedev appeared quite recently, however, according to the former sixth racket of the world, they began cooperation back in December, and even during the Australian Open they exchanged messages with the Russian’s main coach Gilles Cervara.

Alas, this did not help Daniil beat Sinner in the final, but once upon a time Simon’s advice played a certain role in the tennis player’s first victory over the world’s first racket, Novak Djokovic.

This happened in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Monte Carlo 2019.

According to Gilles, Daniel remembered how useful his recommendations were then, and that is why he asked for cooperation at the end of last year.

It is assumed that Simon will accompany the Russian to those tournaments that Cervara will miss for personal reasons.

His help will primarily consist of tactical developments and preparation of a plan to counter specific tennis players.

“For example, he presented me with a list of 16 players he doesn’t like to play against, and I prepared 16 tactics!

Daniil is very strong tactically, he feels very precisely what needs to be done, but sometimes, like everyone else, he makes mistakes.

Because of emotions, because of impatience... I’m trying to explain this to him, which I think he’s happy about,” Gilles noted.

Medvedev has high hopes for this cooperation.

“Gilles Simon is a very smart tennis player, and I hope that he will help me improve my game - in particular, I hope to improve in those elements that perhaps I do not do best.

So far, everything is going well,” the tennis player shared.