- WSL / Ed Sloane

Just a week before the Billabong Pipe Masters kicks off, The New York Times is taking an in-depth look at Gabriel Medina's World Title run and what a crown could mean for sports fans in Brazil. Currently ranked No. 1 in the world, Medina is up against World No 2. Mick Fanning and World No. 3 Kelly Slater (USA) for the Championship.

ASP Exclusive: Medina and Serrano
Gabriel Medina and his stepfather Charles Serrano sat down with the ASP in Part 1 of an exclusive interview about family and chasing surfing's biggest prize.

“Brazil misses having a big sports star,” Adrian Kojin, editor of The Surfer's Journal Brasil, told the Times. “And right after our embarrassing participation in the World Cup, Medina has a very big chance of becoming our next Ayrton Senna or Guga Kuerten: idols capable of putting the whole country in a state of commotion by waving the Brazilian flag on the highest place at the podium.”

While Medina is widely considered to have a lock on the Title, the Times also noted his stumble in Portugal and the immense pressure he is likely shouldering. A look at the scenarios for how the Title could play out shows that the next Champion ultimately hinges on the 20-year-old's performance in the final event of the season.

How does Medina feel about his chances? “It doesn't depend on them; it's all about me."

See the latest updates on the 2014 ASP World Title race and catch him, Fanning and Slater LIVE daily at this site starting Monday, Dec. 8, with the Billabong Pipe Masters.

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