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A Moscow-based sexologist and psychiatrist has suggested that tennis ace Daniil Medvedev’s new haircut could be a sign of a self-esteem and image boost as the Russian closes in on Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings.

World number two Medvedev, who has shunned the entirely clean-cut look in favor of medium length hair for much of his rise to the top, had arguably the most important moment of his impressive career to date when he won his first Grand Slam title earlier this month.

The 25-year-old cruised past Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, denying the Serb the chance to become the first calendar Grand Slam king since Rod Laver in 1969 and fulfilling some of the expectations placed upon the only man behind him in the rankings.

Now a professor at the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Alexander Poleev, has claimed that the charismatic Russian’s sensational victory was the motive behind a trip to the barbers.

“He won a Grand Slam tournament, which the Russians hadn’t done for 16 years,” professor Poleev told Match TV. 

“[He was] looking for an image of a winner. [And] a sharp jump in self-esteem among athletes is very common.”

The sexology author said that modern great Rafael Nadal had performed a similar move by wearing a black t-shirt for the first time after one of his early tournament victories.

“Tennis is not long jumping or running,” he said, discussing the importance of image and marketing in the sport. “It’s about the opportunity to make millions by winning tournaments and advertizing.

“At the same time, the point here is not only and not so much about money, but about gaining social status. There is an opportunity for self-realization on such a scale that other sports do not [offer].

“In swimming, too, no one bothers to become a champion, but you will only advertise swimming trunks and towels. It may be much simpler.

“After victory, Medvedev believed in himself, believed that he could become a winner in the next tournaments – and this requires a short haircut. In the heat, the hair gets in the way.”

Medvedev gave a less piercing slant on the subject when he was asked about his trim following a a 14-1 win for Europe over the World team at the Laver Cup, in which he played his part by beating Denis Shapovalov.

“My new look?,” he asked. “In the end, there is no particular change.

“I was simply on vacation and I thought about cutting my hair and making it shorter. It doesn’t seem like a different or strange look to me. I just cut my hair.”

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