Daniil Medvedev appears to be one of the funniest guys on the ATP tour. He is extremely deadpan which is why he can pull off things like looking into the camera during a match at the 2023 US Open and saying, “Someone is going to die” because of the heat. But like many players, he feels the scheduling of tennis tournaments can be a bit much.
Players of Medvedev‘s success can choose to take a tournament or three off, of course. But most top-end players still want to participate in ATP 1000 tournaments (and, of course, Grand Slams) because of the points they can earn, along with the money, from making a deep run in the tournaments.
But after an already exhausting schedule, the Asian leg of the tennis schedule is upon us, and the time difference between China, for instance, and most of the top-ranked players have great difficulty adjusting to the times of their matches with their natural biological clock. Last week, Medvedev played Tommy Paul in the opening round of the China Open and both struggled with jet lag.
Daniil Medvedev discusses being exhausted from jet lag
Most players cannot go to a country and stay and get adjusted to the time difference because they are committed to playing other tournaments. Playing tennis, of course, is how professional tennis players make their living so missing tournaments means missing out on potential income.
After the Paul match at the China Open, Medvedev said, “It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us (are) a little jet-lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver.” It was clear during the match that both players were well beyond being a “little” jet-lagged and their tiredness affected the match itself.
Complaints about the tennis schedule happen often. Top WTA player Iga Swiatek said over the summer that not only are there probably too many tournaments, but the times of the matches within each tournament can affect players as well. According to Swiatek, “…maybe we should focus more on what is healthy for players because we have to compete every week. The tour is so intense with travel and not actually having two days of calm and not working that it would be nice in the future to focus on players…”
There is no easy answer to keeping players fresh for tournaments, of course, other than having fewer tournaments and that isn’t going to happen. It is up to the players themselves to make sure they are physically ready to perform at a high level. But when fans go to matches and see one player just decimated by fatigue, I guess we should understand what they are going through.