Daniil Medvedev beat Holger Rune 7-5, 7-5 to win the Italian Open on Sunday, his first trophy in a clay court tournament and a major boost ahead of the French Open.
Medvedev, who had been 0-3 in Rome prior to this year’s edition, claimed his fifth title of the season and 20th of his career.
“I always want to believe in myself and I always want to win the biggest tournaments in the world,” said former world number one Medvedev who knocked out 2017 champion Alexander Zverev and 2022 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas on his way to the final.
“But at the same time, I didn’t think I could win a Masters 1000 on clay in my career because usually I hated it, I hated playing on it. I didn’t feel good on it and nothing was working.”
Sunday’s final was the first in Rome since 2004 without either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.
“When I came here I felt so good in practice and I told my coach, ‘I don’t know what is happening but I am feeling amazing, so let’s see how it goes’,” added Medvedev.
“But then you have to play the toughest opponents in the world to try to make it.
“I am really happy I managed to do it and to prove to myself and everyone else that I am capable of doing it.”
The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year, starts in Paris next Sunday.