Sports Nicknames - The Chess Master, The Bear, The Octopus

Daniil Medvedev

In the world of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer, nobody really talks much about anyone else other than the Big three. With 22, 21, and 20 grand slams between the three, no one really stands a chance to be the number one tennis player in the world, since the world already had three number-ones who always seemed indomitable and impregnable.

And then came this fine young guy from Russia who earned himself a name among all these greats. He carved himself a special place in the tennis world and is the (at the time of this writing) world number 1 tennis player. Daniil Medvedev became the world number 1 tennis player in February 2022 and is the only player other than the Big 3 and Andy Murray to be ranked world number one in the last 15 years.

Daniil Medvedev - The Chess Master - Nicknamed The Bear from Russia and the Pretzel - Profile illustration.  Drawing.  Avatar art.


Medvedev has had some interesting nicknames over the years. Now that he has established himself as a tennis player, these nicknames are getting special attention.

The Chess Master:

Medvedev competed for the first time in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in 2021. During the event, he displayed some smart moves and tricky tactics on the courts. By the end of the event, he had earned himself a very respectable nickname. He was called "The Chess master" for his smart tactics.

Interestingly, Medvedev is very fond of chess, and the nickname also goes pretty well with that.

The Bear:

Daniil Medvedev's last name Medvedev literally means Bear. Over the years, the English translation of his name has become pretty famous as his nickname. In one of the press conferences, Medvedev himself admitted that "Bear" was his more popular nickname.

The Octopus:

The one nickname of Medvedev that has got everything to do with his gameplay is "The Octopus." A number of tennis players have called him The Octopus. Stefanos TsiTsipas commented on his nickname and offered the explanation that Medvedev somehow "is able to get to balls that very few players can." Thus, Medvedev's ability to move freely and swiftly across the court to get to nearly impossible balls has earned him the nickname of Octopus.

Though he has got only two arms, he still plays like he has Eight!


A less popular nickname is "Pretzel". Though it is not very popular, the Polish tennis star Iga Swiatek told him that his playing style reminded her of a Pretzel. Perhaps, it's the elegance of his gameplay!

Career and Achievements:

Medvedev turned pro in 2014 and showed the initial promise like any others. However, it was not until 2020 that he made his mark on world tennis. The tennis world had already started acknowledging him as a bright prospect for the future, but a major title still evaded him.

The Rise:

He got his break at the 2020 ATP Finals when he defeated Dominic Thiem to win his first-ever ATP Finals. He had beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on his way to the finals and deservingly emerged victorious at the 2020 ATP Finals. The following year, he made it to the finals of the Australian Open but lost against Djokovic.

The moment of ultimate glory arrived at the US Open 2021 when Medvedev faced Djokovic in the finals. With scars of the Australian Open final loss earlier in the year on his mind, Medvedev entered the court. Medvedev showed a great display of talent, technique, and composure to beat the then World Number One ranked Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first ever Grand Slam Title.

Until now, Medvedev has won 14 ATP titles and sits comfortably at the top of the rankings table.

There is still a long way to go for the promising Russian player, but he certainly has announced his arrival in style.


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