STARNBERG, February 7, 2022 (by Alex Jack)
Daniil Medvedev’s post-match press conference after his Australian Open final loss to Rafael Nadal was a revealing insight into how sensitive the Russian is to the mood of a particular crowd when he is on court. Indeed, before the 25-year-old took questions, he embarked on a five-minute monologue that was ultimately tough to follow given how much it lurched from grievance to grievance, but the gist seemed to be that because of the behaviour of the Australian Open supporters during the final, a part of him died and from now on, he plans to play for only himself, his family and Russia.
The Russian was of course referring to the shouting from the crowd during Nadal’s serve and the general partisan nature of the fans in Melbourne, where the large majority seemed to be rooting for the Spaniard.
This was all too much for Medvedev to internalise, which is why the press room and indeed watching world was treated to his impromptu speech thereafter.
“Empty brains… their lives must be very bad!”
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 30, 2022
Now, it’s hard to know exactly what to say about the 25-year-old’s post-game antics given that he must have been suffering from crushing disappointment during the moments after losing the final. In that sense, one doesn’t want to be overly critical and can probably allow for a degree of self-indulgence as he tried to make sense of it all. The truth, though, is that the only person who really suffers from complaining on international TV is indeed the Russian himself, so one doesn’t need to invite another pile on.
What should be said, however, is that Nadal made history on that night by winning 21 Grand Slams and, in doing so, became the first man to reach the milestone as he overtook Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer’s record of twenty each. With this in mind, if Medvedev is looking for a reason as to why the crowd were getting behind Nadal, he needs to know that it had little to do with the fact that he was Russian, and more to do with history being made in front of everyone’s eyes. It was of course a thrilling experience for jubilant onlookers who won’t see anything like it again.
In addition to that, Nadal got to where he is today not by sulking after the Wimbledon crowd in 2006 roared every Federer shot on and showed a clear bias towards the Swiss legend sixteen years ago, but because he dealt with that and came back and won two years later in 2008. These days, everyone loves him because he didn’t take offence but rather put his head down and worked on shutting out the noise.
MEDVEDEV BLOWS UP! 😡😡
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 28, 2022
If Medvedev is able to do that, then he could quite conceivably enjoy the same success as Nadal, starting at Roland Garros and at the All England Club in 2022. At least, this is what the latest Wimbledon odds suggest with the Russian priced behind Djokovic as favourite at odds of around 13/2 to win another grand slam.
What those odds don’t allow for currently is the 25-year-old’s tendency to let external factors get to him. Indeed, Daniil Medvedev will only win more Grand Slam titles if he develops a thicker skin. Until such a time, the Russian will be at the mercy of the spectators and all too ready to take exception with their behaviour.