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Australian Open: 'The kid's stopped dreaming' – Medvedev hits out, accuses tennis fans of anti-Russian bias

By John Skilbeck

Melbourne, Jan. 30: Daniil Medvedev revealed defeat to record-breaker Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final had crushed his tennis dreams, accusing the Melbourne crowd of being "disrespectful" and claiming he gets rough treatment because he is Russian.

After delivering an unexpected monologue at the beginning of his post-match news conference, that Medvedev described as the "story of a young kid who dreamed about big things in tennis", the 25-year-old questioned whether he would feel wanted enough to play on beyond the age of 30.

He spoke of various highs and lows in the early years of his career, before making it clear he included his fourth grand slam final appearance on Sunday in the list of letdowns, but not purely because of the result.

"I'm talking about a few moments where the kid stopped dreaming, and today was one of them, and I'm not going to really tell why," Medvedev said.

"So from today I'm playing for myself, for my family, to provide my family, for people that trust in me; of course for all the Russians, because I feel a lot of support there.

"If there is a tournament on hardcourts in Moscow before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I'm going to go there even if I miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever.

"The kid's stopped dreaming, the kid's going to play for himself, and that's it, that's my story, thanks for listening guys."

Despite saying he would not discuss his initial statement, he was easily persuaded to expand on his points.

Medvedev said Nadal, who came from two sets down to beat the US Open champion, had been "unreal", as the Spaniard won a 21st grand slam title, moving ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. And Medvedev also said he had no major regrets about his own performance, although he must wonder how he failed to close this one out.

He then expanded on his gripe by confirming it was the crowd's response to him that had left him upset and disenchanted, saying almost all the support was behind Nadal.

"Before Rafa serves even in the fifth set, there would be somebody, and I would even be surprised, like one guy screaming, 'C'mon, Daniil'. A thousand people would be like, 'Tsss, tsss, tsss'. That sound. Before my serve, I didn't hear it," Medvedev said.

"It's disappointing. It's disrespectful, it's disappointing. I'm not sure after 30 years I'm going to want to play tennis.

"It depends what people around me are going to tell me, but the kid that truly was dreaming is not any more in me after today. It will be tougher to continue tennis when it's like this."

He spoke about facing the 'Big Three' – Djokovic, Federer and Nadal – during recent seasons.

"Every time I stepped on the court in these big matches, I really didn't see much people who wanted me to win," he said. "It's cumulative, but today was like the top of the mountain.

"I think nationality plays a key. I can definitely see when you are playing somebody from the other country, they would go for them and not for the Russian or something like this."

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Story first published: Sunday, January 30, 2022, 22:20 [IST]
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