The Australian Open has left Medvedev a broken man as he cries out that “The kid stopped dreaming.”
The Australian Open came to a tremendous close over the weekend with Rafael Nadal securing a win from behind that will surely be one for the books. In fact, it will be given that this means that Nadal is the first man to win 21 grand slams. His opponent, Daniil Medvedev, the world no. 2, certainly wishes this was something he could forget, but not because he lost.
During the post-match interview, Medvedev stated that the Australian crowd made him doubt his own wish to continue to play tennis. He started with a story about himself as a child.
Medvedev explained that his childhood and the dreams he had in his early days of tennis. The Australian Open, particularly the Australian crowd, has made him doubt whether he should continue to dream big.
“I’m just talking about few moments where the kid stopped dreaming, and today was one of them. I’m not going to really tell why,” he said. He added that from here on out he would only be playing for himself and his family.
As Medvedev continued,
A reporter had pressed the tennis star to elaborate and asked if it was due to the issues he was facing with the crowd throughout the Open. Medvedev said he wouldn’t answer any more questions about his childhood story and dreams. Instead, he made it very clear that he wasn’t disappointed with his performance but affirmed that the crowd was disrespectful.
“I’m just going to give one example,” said Medvedev. “Before Rafa serves even in the fifth set, there would be somebody, and I would even be surprised, like one guy scream, ‘C’mon Daniil.’ A thousand people would be like, ‘Tsss, tsss, tsss.’ That sound. Before my serve, I didn’t hear it. It’s disappointing. It’s disrespectful, it’s disappointing. I’m not sure after 30 years I’m going to want to play tennis.
“Again, the kid that was dreaming is not anymore in me after today. It will be tougher to continue tennis when it’s like this.”
Playing The "Villain"
Throughout the Open, Medvedev has been battling with the crowd. He has been booed regularly, forced to fight for silence between points, and endure the spectators’ general “disrespect.”
Medvedev did play the role of “villain” by trolling Australians by making reference to Novak Djokovic when discussing his game plan after his match against Felix Auger-Aliassime, “I told myself what would Novak do?” It was innocent enough but the sly smiles after he brought it up meant he knew what he was doing as the commentators made mention of at the time.
He also blasted fans during his match against Nick Kyrgios when he called the crowd dumb, essentially.
The crowd even got under Kyrgios’ skin when he yelled at the crowd, “Can you please stop screaming out while I’m f***ing serving.”
Ultimately, Kyrgios welcomed the crowd and thought it was a good thing, “I thought the atmosphere was awesome. I thought the crowd was – like, that’s what sport is. You’ve got the most entertaining player in his home slam on Rod Laver. You’d expect the crowd to be like that. I can understand it’s a gentleman’s game, but it’s about time that people embraced some sort of different energy in this sport otherwise it will die out. It’s just that simple.”
Medvedev even got mad at the ball kids during his match with Nadal that really didn’t do him any favours in the court of public opinion.
Journalist Ben Rothenberg tweeted a very nice summary of all this drama,
Medvedev is not alone in his opinion of Australian crowds, with doubles duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic voicing their solidarity with the Russian. And you can see why as during the pair’s game against Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, a fan demanded the crowd’s attention when he did a shoey. The crowd was eager and cheered him on. Pavic wasn’t having any of it and told the umpire in the second set on his serve, “This is p***ing me off… don’t let that happen.”
He told reporters that he didn’t blow up because of the crowd but for an undisclosed reason that he wouldn’t elaborate on. But he did leave a note for Aussies, “That’s how they are here. We used to that… but it wouldn’t hurt them to show some respect.”
Now all that drama is over. The Australian Open has felt like a soap opera before it even got started and now it’s over. Is this the trend tennis is facing? Or is this just an Australian thing? Will controversy surround every player? Are crowds simply changing their attitudes? We will certainly find out when we reach Wimbledon.
For more tennis goodness, check out the history of The Australian Open: From Rags to Rolexes.
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