Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev is one of the best players in the world at present. He has also held the top spot in the ATP ranking for a while. But his relationship with the crowds at any venue has been volatile, to say the least. He has been booed and jeered at every turn, and even been on the receiving end of a xenophobic attack in 2022.
Medvedev played phenomenally at the Australian Open in 2022, to reach the final. He was up against crowd favorite Rafael Nadal, who was playing to win his 21st major title.
Daniil started off really well, winning the first two sets against Nadal. The crowd was loud throughout the match but things took a very nasty turn when a fan shouted, “Go back to Russia!”
This xenophobic attack was immediately met with boos from the crowd. The umpire intervened, asking the crowd to quieten down so the game could resume. Medvedev eventually lost the final.
Following his defeat, Daniil opened up about how much he was distracted and disrespected by the crowd. A few fans in particular were very noisy and Medvedev repeatedly complained to the umpire.
He also suggested that the disrespect he faced could be because of his nationality, which is evident from the clip. “It’s disrespectful, it’s disappointing. I’m not sure after 30 years I’m going to want to play tennis,” said Medvedev (via Eurosport).
Unfortunately, that was neither the first nor the last time Medvedev has been disrespected by the crowd. A few instances have been documented, but many have also got away with it.
Daniil Medvedev has a strained relationship with fans
The Russian star has been heckled and harassed throughout his career. The incident at the Australian Open final was not a one-off, as he faced a similar treatment in Canada.
Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios defeated Daniil Medvedev at the Canadian Open in 2022. As he was leaving the arena, a fan called Medvedev a loser. Daniil could not ignore it, and he turned around and confronted the heckler.
A video clip showing the confrontation went viral. Kyrgios was quick to jump to Medvedev’s defense, as he asked fans to show him respect.
Disgusting behaviour ☹️ This is the best we have in the sport, fans need to show some respect. https://t.co/p0MG6vF4Xn
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) August 14, 2022
Medvedev spoke of this incident during an interview, stating that he would always answer back if someone said anything nasty to him. He added, how it is very common on social media, something his peers have also spoken about in the past.
No athlete enjoys being on the receiving end of hatred. Fans too, should be more mindful of the fact that they are human beings, and deserve respect.