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Medvedev has subtle swipe at Tsitsipas – “Hopefully Rublev can beat him many times!”

Daniil Medvedev had a sly dig at Stefanos Tsitsipas’s comments made at the end of 2022

Daniil Medvedev ATP 500 – Dubai Tennis Championships – The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – March 4, 2023 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev with Russia’s Andrey Rublev celebrates after winning his final match (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Daniil Medvedev had a subtle jab at Stefanos Tsitsipas during his victory speech in Dubai on Saturday – all in defence of his friend and compatriot Andrey Rublev.

The Greek, in a fit of temper last year, had a verbal swipe after Rublev beat him 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the Nitto ATP Finals round-robin, saying “It’s a shame. I feel like the better player. I felt like I could do more with the ball today. I felt like I could just be much more creative. I don’t even have to say that. I think it’s quite obvious.

“But, yeah, he prevailed with the few tools that he has. He was able to really take advantage of them and win today.”

He did later apologise, saying: “Andrey is an excellent player. He has a great array of weapons that he uses extremely well on the court. He can hit the ball really hard, he’s sort of like the Marat Safin of the new generation.

“I don’t think he’s limited in his game, I think he’s put himself over many years now on the tour that he’s capable of competing against the best. He’s one of the most disciplined guys out here, who is very professional towards his work. He’s a very funny guy, a very nice soul, I enjoy being around him. He’s extremely friendly and likes to make fun of himself.”

Medvedev: Rublev can win Grand Slams

Nonetheless, his initial remarks clearly made an impact on Medvedev – who beat Rublev 6-2, 6-2 to take his third title in as many weeks and used the microphone to pay fulsome tribute to his old friend and rival.

“I remember one player not long ago said he had few weapons. I was reading this and thought how can you say this? In my opinion Andrey is one of the most skilful players on the tour.

“He didn’t exploit fully his potential yet but I’m sure he can win Grand Slams. Hopefully he can beat the guy who said this many many times – I wish you this for sure!”

Rublev in turn was circumspect in his own press conference, admitting: “I was a bit late over there, to be honest. In the beginning, I didn’t understand what he meant. Then I say, ‘Who was the one that was saying that?’ Then I realised!”

He said that he had little to say on the subject, adding: “When Stefanos said that, I didn’t even take it personal because I know I’m also emotional, and I know how you can say some things and do some things when you are under the emotions. I mean, you don’t need to walk far away, you can see some moments of my behaviour on court that are not really nice.

“Of course, I understand him at that moment, so I didn’t even take it personal. Plus, on top of that, later on he come to me and he apologised. Even more – how you say – good from him that he did it. Nothing to say.”

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