Thu. May 26th, 2022

On the morning of August 31, 2019, an American ballboy woke up to the US Open without a shred of knowledge about the role he would play in Daniil Medvedev’s character arc.

Medvedev, who was No. 5 in the tournament that year, was agitated in his grueling match in the third round against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

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The Russian took the opening set in a tie-breaker before Lopez equalized the match to one set each.

When the Spaniard refused to wither, Medvedev’s frustration began to show.

And with an annoying grip of his towel from the unsuspecting ballboy, thrown directly onto the court at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the wheels were set in motion so that Medvedev could fully assert himself as an excellent tennis villain.

His dummy spit aroused justified scorn from the assembled crowd.

But dig a little deeper, and it highlighted an element of the sport that is perhaps all too often forgotten: tennis thrives when we have an anti-hero, and Medvedev played the role to perfection.


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Medvedev’s entry into the villain did not begin in his fight against Lopez, nor did it end.

There may have been undocumented incidents before that, but in a 2016 USTA Challenger match, Medvedev made headlines for the wrong reasons for comments he made about a referee.

The Russian, who was 20 at the time, played Donald Young, an African-American.

But the match ended immediately midway through the first set, after Medvedev made cunning comments to referee Sandy French, who called a Medvedev forehand – one that would have given him a break in the serve at the time – wide.

When he went back to baseline, Medvedev was caught saying, “I know you are friends. I’m sure of that.”

Like Young, French is African-American, and he encouraged the tournament manager to get on the field.

Medvedev has not exactly loved tennis fans.  (Photo by William WEST / AFP)
Medvedev has not exactly loved tennis fans. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)Source: AFP

A brief consideration followed before French handed over the match to Young for “unsportsmanlike conduct” by Medvedev, with the USTA confirming that the Russian was disqualified for exhibiting “aggravated unsportsmanlike conduct when he questioned the judge’s impartiality due to her race. . “

Fast forward to the match against Lopez in 2019, and if Medvedev’s half turn was not completely complete, it was now.

Even after pulling the towel out of the innocent ballboys’ hands, Medvedev was not finished with controversy as he responded to the buh from the spectators in the only way a villain should: he cunningly turned them away.

Medvedev toppled the audience at the 2019 US Open. Image: IncludedSource: Delivered

The crowd never gave up in their mockery of Medvedev, who eventually defeated Lopez in four sets to reserve his spot in the fourth round.

The Russian’s post-match interview also proved why it’s unwise for anyone to think that booing a villain has a positive impact.

“Your energy tonight gives me the victory. Because if you guys were not here, I would probably lose this fight,” Medvedev said.

“So I want you all to know when you sleep tonight, I won because of you.

“Again, the only thing I can say is the energy you’re giving me right now will be enough for my next five games.”

Another element of Medvedev’s villainy is his continued rivalry with Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The feud began at the 2018 Miami Open when Tsitsipas allegedly mumbled, “Bulls *** Russian.”

Medvedev replied from his chair: “Man, you better keep your mouth shut. Hi Stefanos, will you look at me and talk? You go to the emergency room for five minutes during and then you press (a) let and you do not say “Do you think you’re a good kid?”

It is safe to say that neither of them is on each other’s Christmas card list, but a disgusting respect between the couple for their feats on the pitch has certainly grown since the verbal spit, though Medvedev admits they “have no relationship” at all. “

Djokovic loses appeal | 04:34


Despite all the mistakes of American tennis great John McEnroe, one thing you simply can not deny is that he turned tennis into kiosk entertainment.

In terms of tennis skills, McEnroe was unmatched and won seven grand slam titles in a glittering career.

But for the younger generations, most will know McEnroe as the pioneer in tennis bad boys.

Regular outbursts against referees, smashed rackets and verbal blows to his opponents. It was the McEnroe way, and either you loved him or you hated him.

But no matter what, you should keep an eye on him.

There has been no one like the American in terms of pure villainy that draws such an audience in.

Many tennis players have arrived and left the ATP tour as it showed lots of bad boy characteristics.

John McEnroe was the original bad boy of tennis Image: News Corp AustraliaSource: Herald Sun.

People would have been amazed if an Andy Roddick match did not involve Nebraskan mingling in a verbal stoush with a referee.

Australia’s own Lleyton Hewitt also had his moments, including when he called a chair judge and a net judge at the 2001 French Open “s *******”.

But Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s rise to the top tier of tennis led to a different attitude towards the sport.

It’s about calm and respect, much to the annoyance of TV network leaders, who would definitely prefer fireworks over friendship.

Latvian tennis star Ernests Gulbis put it bluntly when he told French publication The team in 2013, that “tennis today lacks grades”, citing the best players in the world as a sign that the sport is in desperate need of the bad boys entertainers.

“I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak and Murray, but to me they are all four boring players,” Gulbis said.

‘Their interviews are boring.

“Honestly, they’re c ****.”

Ernests Gulbis wished there were more characters in modern tennis. (AAP Image / David Crosling)Source: AAP

The types of characters Gulbis would like to see in modern tennis are few and far between, with Nick Kyrgios as the best example.

But it’s a simple fact that when Kyrgios plays, people tune in.

Love him or hate him Mercury star delivers excitement in spades, whether it’s his abilities with rackets or his sharp tongue.

Medvedev is not the type of player who can explode with a single flick of the finger, as Kyrgios can, but he never lacks a bit of controversy.


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Of the quartet mentioned by Gulbis, Djokovic is the only one who has proven he can play the role of a villain. But it never felt completely authentic.

The Serb has, after all, demanded the worship and adoration of tennis fans around the world as long as he has been on tour.

Unless you have Serbian blood running through your veins, being a Djokovic fan seems hard to sell.

But despite all his desire to hear a stadium abound with people singing his name, Djokovic completely shot that show down with a rocket launcher with his vaccine debacle and cemented himself as the biggest villain, not just in tennis, but throughout Australia.

For the many reasons why he deservedly became the # 1 enemy of the people, Djokovic’s case highlighted the paradox of a villain: they are tireless, but it’s impossible not to tune in and see what happens.

Djokovic was deported from Australia. (Photo by Greg WOOD / AFP)Source: AFP

With Djokovic deported from Australia and no longer competing for a record 10. Australian Open, the stage is set for a new villain who can turn on the tennis world, at least on the court.

Gulbis’ comments that tennis became boring were strong, and in many ways they are still true to this day.

But Medvedev has shown that he is not afraid of being showered with buh if anything he enjoys it.

It should be noted that for all of Medvedev’s visible behavioral errors, it is difficult to argue about his enormous abilities on the pitch.

The Russian is the No. 1 seed in the tournament now that Djokovic has traveled, and will be desperate to collect two grand slam titles in a row after his US Open triumph last year.

He is the type of player who sucks opponents to play his own type of game, which is more reminiscent of a chess match than a tennis match.

Medvedev has a serious chance of leaving Melbourne Park as the last man. (Photo by MORGAN HANCOCK / TENNIS AUSTRALIA / AFP)Source: AFP

Tsitsipas described playing a match against Medvedev as “boring” and added that he hates himself for putting himself in a “situation where I have to play on his own terms and not on my own terms.”

It may not be an easy-to-see style of play, but it has brought plenty of success to Medvedev, who have a serious chance of winning a first Australian Open trophy.

It also adds to his status as a primary villain.

If he were to behave like a sour child and be bundled out in the initial rounds of tournaments, it might increase the views on YouTube, but people will quickly get tired of the performance.

But Medvedev is the leader of the next generation of top-tier tennis players and is almost certain to add more grand slam trophies to the cabinet throughout his career.

His play is methodical and he can turn on the switch at a point pace in an instant with his rumbling groundstrokes.

The hard court surface is Medvedev’s happy place, and it could be the perfect reason to sew the seeds for future villainy.

Tennis could do with more characters, and while it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a player of McEnroe’s likeness come back, Medvedev has a history of brash behavior.

Is it a good example for children to look up to? Not quite.

But villains create excitement, and for a sport that may at times be getting a little too vanilla, Medvedev may be the anti-hero the sport never knew it needed.


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