Medvedev encourages US Open fans to boo, and they respond
NEW YORK (AP) — Daniil Medvedev extended his arms toward the crowd, then motioned for the fans to keep raining down the boos.
In New York, they don’t wait to be asked.
The crowd had been letting him have it since early in his third-round matchup with Feliciano Lopez on Friday night, and the fans who were still there after Medvedev completed the last match of the day at the U.S. Open with a 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory let loose with whatever voices they still had.
In a post-match interview that seemed better suited for WrestleMania than the U.S. Open, Medvedev told fans that he’d won because of their energy.
“I want all of you to know when you sleep tonight, I won because of you,” Medvedev said.
As the jeers grew louder — and one fan was seen extending his middle finger — the No. 5 seed added: “The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys.”
Medvedev was more contrite later in a brief interview with reporters, adding that he had spoken to Lopez and said his opponent understood.
The trouble started in the first set, when a frustrated Medvedev snatched the towel from a ballperson and was given a code violation by umpire Damien Dumusois. Medvedev then threw his racket in the direction of Dumusois, barked something at him and later flashed his middle finger next to his forehead as he walked past the umpire’s chair.
“I was in the heat of the moment. Started losing the momentum, so I mean, was tough,” Medvedev said. “Was tough and I don’t really remember. I mean, I paid for it the whole match after, because as you saw it wasn’t easy. So I’m just happy to win.”
The U.S. Tennis Association said Saturday that Medvedev was fined $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct for the towel snatch and toss, and $4,000 for holding his middle finger against the side of his face. He has been docked $19,000 for his actions in his three matches.
The Russian came into the final Grand Slam of the year as perhaps the hottest player on tour, winning the Western & Southern Open in the last of three straight tournaments in which he reached the final. He’ll be favored to reach the quarterfinals, as his next match is against 118th-ranked qualifier Dominik Koepfer.
He was asked if he’s worried about playing that match and the ones that follow at the U.S. Open with the crowd against him.
“Tough question to answer,” he said, “because what I can say is that I’m working on myself and hopefully I will be better next time.”