Roland-Garros: Is Medvedev still the ugly duckling on the circuit?


‘VS’it is your energy that made me gain. Know it all when you go to bed: if I won, it’s thanks to you! The more you whistle at me, the more energy you’ll give me for the next five games! “In September 2019, during the US Open, Daniil Medvedev had performed on the courts but also outside. “Beyond the slang-free interviews, he had no hesitation in answering with a finger of honor. Two years later, the mood had changed between the Muscovite and the spectators. And if in 2021 he deprived Novak Djokovic of a fabulous grand slam, the current number 2 in the world ended up earning the respect he longed for.

The New York episode has necessarily set the mood. Medvedev likes to play with the public, even if he has to dilute his wine with its resizing. “Attitude is the only thing that doesn’t count with me, it’s almost impossible to control your emotions. For the rest, there is almost nothing spontaneous in my career … “, he confided to World in 2019. The first player since Andy Roddick, outside the Big Four (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray), to become number one in the world, the Russian was able to count on his performance and his talent to turn the whistles in applause. And while Zverev, Tsitsipas and the company of his generation still can’t win a grand slam, the slender right-winger has been able to catch the right wagon.

How can you referee a half Grand Slam when you’re so bad? Look at me when I talk to you!Daniil Medvedev to the referee, in the semifinals of the Australian Open in January 2022

However, the natural has recently returned to the gallop. His blows at the last Australian Open did not stop making him talk. In the semifinals against Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev had limited himself to cracking by attacking the referee virulently, challenging a warning when he believed the Greek was speaking directly to his clan. “How can you referee a half Grand Slam when you’re so bad? Look at me when I talk to you!” mental trainer to prevent this type of overflow.

A bitter-tasting finale against Christmas

Daniil Medvedev then suffered the wrath of the Rod Laver Arena, which was completely defeated by Rafael Nadal in the final. Every point scored by the Spaniard gave way to fury while the Muscovite’s winners were timidly applauded. “Before Rafa came out in the fifth set, if there was a person shouting ‘Va Daniil’, thousands more were doing ‘Tsssss!’ “It’s disappointing and disrespectful. I’m not sure I want to play tennis when I’m 30. The boy who dreamed of me no longer exists. […]. Every time I went on the court in these big games, I didn’t see many people who wanted me to win, “said the disappointed Russian after his five-set defeat. A spleen start for one who is only 26 years old.

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Should this be seen as a form of Russophobia? The main interested party did not hesitate to mention this hypothesis. “I think nationality matters. For a while, Russian tennis was in a slump. There’s a lot more excitement for tennis here now with Andrey (Rublev), Karen (Khachanov), Aslan (Karatsev) and me doing great things. “Hopefully more people will support us. But yes, when you play someone from another country, I really find that people prefer it or something.”

World number one reached the top very quickly

Was it scheduled to become the world number one? Last February, his coach Gilles Cervara said The team that this change of dimension was an uncertainty to be digested. “It simply came to our notice then. I think it can be installed on this site because it has acquired the dimension it deserves. Now he has to catch it. To achieve this state, Medvedev must be good on all surfaces. If he is not a lover of clay, he still reached the quarterfinals last year at Roland-Garros, an unprecedented performance for him who had never played the first round before. .

As for the French public, the atmosphere is much warmer. It must be said that between France and Russia, the story began in 2014 when he joined Cannes to study at the Jean-René Lisnard Academy. If tricolor tennis no longer manages to emerge from the champions, it still serves as a launch pad for future ATP leaders. For six years, Medvedev lived and trained on the Côte d’Azur while learning French. In tournaments, whether at Roland-Garros or the Paris-Bercy Masters, he is often acclaimed. During the last final of the Paris Masters, against Djokovic, he received a welcome equivalent to that of the Serb, proof that the grass can be greener elsewhere.

The invasion of Ukraine, consequences for Russian players

But out-of-court news is catching up with Medvedev and his compatriots. After the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Russian players are no longer wanted in some tournaments, such as Wimbledon, which starts in a month. “We have considered a wide variety of factors. After careful consideration, we have come to two firm conclusions. First, if we accepted entries (from Russian and Belarusian players), we would risk their success or participation being used. for the benefit of the Russian regime’s propaganda, which we could not accept, “said Ian Hewitt, head of the All England Club.

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For his part, Medvedev did not want to feed the controversy. “It simply came to our notice then. I try to follow what is happening because the decision is not mine. Right now it’s between Wimbledon, the ATP and maybe the UK government. It’s a complicated situation and, like all other things in life, if you ask a hundred players, everyone will have a different opinion. I can play. I would love to play Wimbledon because I love this tournament. If I can’t play, I’ll try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play then, “said the 26-year-old after the decision. from London, the Russian can savor a growing popularity next to the Porte d’Auteuil, and she offers him the much-desired osmosis with the public.

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