It was only then, he said, that he began to enjoy the moment and smile, which was part of his secret sauce.
“I’ve said it several times, but a smile is the key to everything for me,” he said.
Medvedev doesn’t smile much on the court, and in recent weeks he’s been telling everyone not to expect too much from him at this tournament. He has not performed well at Wimbledon in the past. Until this year, he had never made it past the fourth round. He doesn’t really like grass-court tennis, preferring the predictable, authentic bounce produced by hard courts.
And on Wednesday afternoon, he was playing Eubanks on court one. Eubanks followed up with a flurry of serves and drop volleys that Medvedev barely targeted. Medvedev struggled to stay focused as Eubanks extended his lead to 2-1, he said, and he didn’t understand what was happening to him.
The crowd was tightly packed in a corner of Eubanks. Eubanks has been the underdog of British fans, despite the elimination of top-ranked player Cameron Norrie last week. At one point, Medvedev rolled a perfect running backhand winner past Eubanks and put a finger to his ear for a cheer. When their voices weren’t loud enough, Medvedev waved his hand in disgust.
The scores were so skewed that he remembered five years ago, long before he broke out as one of the most promising players of his generation. At the time, he wasn’t all that successful, with multiple Grand Slam finals, a 2021 U.S. Open win, and a few stints as world No. had not yet achieved that.