Tennis

Daniil Medvedev Somehow Won the Crowd Back at the U.S. Open

Tennis fans are always on the lookout for the sport’s next big star. On the women’s side, it appears as though Naomi Osaka might be the heir apparent to the great Serena Williams. On the men’s side, it’s not as clear who will emerge from the shadow of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic. 

One potential superstar in men’s tennis is Daniil Medvedev. He had an eventful run at this year’s U.S. Open, where he lost the crowd and then miraculously won them back by the end of the tournament.

Daniil Medvedev’s career overview

Daniil Medvedev, known for his unorthodox style of play that confounds his opponents, has been one of the best players in the world in 2019. He’s currently ranked fourth in the world, which makes him the best player not named Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal. 

Medvedev turned pro in 2014 and at only 23 years old, has quite a few years of productivity left. Here’s what he’s been able to do to date

  • Win-loss record of 122-72
  • Grand Slam record of 17-12
  • Five ATP Tour titles
  • A 94-44 record on hard surfaces
  • One ATP Masters 1000 title

In 2019 thus far, Medvedev has an overall record of 50-17 with a Grand Slam record of 11-4. He entered this year’s U.S. Open as one an outside favorite (outside the big three). 

His tournament performance in Queens drew a lot of attention – not all of it positive. 

The battle with the crowd at the U.S. Open

In the third round, Medvedev faced off against Feliciano Lopez. During the match, he lost his temper a few times. When a ballboy tried to give him a towel, he snatched it quickly then threw it away. He also smashed a racquet and gestured in an obscene way towards an umpire for assessing him a violation. 

Following the match, Medvedev was loudly booed by the New York crowd. He did little to quell their boos, seemingly antagonizing them in his post-match interview

“If you were not here today, I would probably have lost the match because I was so tired, I was cramping yesterday. I want all of you to know, when you go to sleep at night, I won because of you…Again, all I can say, all the energy you’re giving me right now, I want you to know, it will give me energy for my next five matches. The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys. Thank you.”

Medvedev almost seemed to enjoy his role as the heavy as he became the youngest player to advance this far in the U.S. Open in quite a while. 

How Daniil Medvedev won the crowd back

Following his victory over Lopez, Medvedev’s won his fourth-round match. He took part in a little back and forth with the crowd as they booed him – this time, a little less loudly. After the match, Medvedev was a little more muted than he had been previously: 

“Talking about last match, I was an idiot, to be honest. I did some things that I’m not proud of and that I’m working on to be a better person on the court, because I do think I’m a good person out of the court.”

His next match was against Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. He fought valiantly through an injury to defeat the talented Wawrinka. Medvedev fought all the way to the tournament final before falling to Nadal in an incredible 5-hour match. 

Nadal had high praise for Medvedev, saying, “Daniil showed why he is the No. 4 player in the world. The way he [Medvedev] was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was incredible. I congratulate him.”

Medvedev’s gutty performance following his third-round tantrum shows that he has what it takes to be one of the best in the world. The crowd seemed to rally behind Medvedev’s grit and hustle as he tried to keep up with Nadal. He just refused to quit.

Following the match, Medvedev gave an honest and charming interview. He credited Nadal for being so great and addressed the fans. Moving forward, the question is whether he can stay focused enough to do it on a consistent basis and not let his temper get in the way. Tennis fans everywhere should be keeping an eye on this young talent.