Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev shouted at a woman in the stands and told her to “shut up!”
While the former World No1 lifted the US Open in 2021, he has often found himself at odds with the fans at Flushing Meadows. After being booed and jeered in a match against Feliciano Lopez at the 2019 tournament, he repeatedly antagonised the crowd.
Four years on from his unforgettable exchange, he found himself at odds with the Louis Armstrong crowd again during his physical 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 victory over Australian ace Christopher O’Connell. Soon after dropping the third set from a winning position, Medvedev was getting ready to serve in the fourth, as a woman, ironically wearing a jacket emblazoned with the Russian flag, carried some pints of beer down the steps.
After catching her in his eye-line, Medvedev stopped what he was doing and unloaded on the fans.
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He shouted: “can you shut up guys? Are you stupid or what?”. The woman Medvedev was believed to be talking to, then responded by blowing a kiss in his direction before handing the beers out to his friends. This altercation proceeded a frustrating third set which saw him miss many opportunities to win the match.
He led 4-2 in the third but was pegged back to 4-4, before letting a 5-2 lead slip through his grasp in the tiebreak. Medvedev also double faulted when he had the match point at 6-5, before going on to double fault at 6-7 to give O’Connell the third set and a route back into the match.
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When he was at his most frustrated, Medvedev struck out at a camera that was trying to get a close up of him while he was sitting at his bench. The Russian managed to regain his composure and win the fourth set 6-2 to move into the second round.
Even when the match was won, Medvedev appeared to be gesticulating at somebody else in the crowd. “It depends, sometimes yes. Sometimes no,” he replied when asked if the crowd’s reaction fired him up. “You can’t often know how it’s going to go. It’s kind of like a lottery,” he said with a smile.
His anger evoked memories of his unforgettable behaviour four years ago. After snatching a towel from a ball person’s hands, throwing his racket in the chair umpire’s direction and flashing his middle finger by the side of his head, Medvedev was incessantly booed by the crowd. They cheered all his mistakes and firmly got behind Spanish ace Lopez.
After he won the match, Medvedev took the microphone and laughed at the fans. “First of all, what can I say? Thank you guys, because your energy tonight gave me the win,” Medvedev said in the on-court interview. “If you weren’t here, guys, I would probably lose the match. I was so tired. I want all of you to know, when you sleep tonight, I won today because of you.”
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