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Medvedev battles his demons – and survives: “I was quite mad today”

The Russian said he let his annoyance about not playing on Rod Laver Arena get to him as he battled past Maxime Cressy on Monday

Daniil Medvedev reaction AO 2022 AI/Reuters/Panoramic

It is a mark of the greatness of the very best players in the world that they rarely they have a truly bad day. No matter what side of the bed they get out, somehow they find a way to get the job done, focusing when they need to, whatever’s going on around them.

Others might let things get to them so much that they end up losing and for a while at the Australian Open on Monday, as Daniil Medvedev vented his frustration at any number of things during his fourth-round match with American Maxime Cressy, it seemed the No 2 seed might get in his own way and end up on the losing side.

The US Open champion won in spite of himself, claiming a hard-fought victory in four sets to reach the quarter-finals but afterwards admitted he had lost his way, mentally, at times.

“I was quite mad today because of few things,” he said. “To be honest, I’m working on myself, and that’s why I managed to win and still kept my composure, as much as I could, because sometimes I go much more crazier than I did today.”

“It’s because, I don’t know, I just felt a little bit not perfect today for few reasons. First of all is where I really don’t know, like, what should I do to play on centre courts in Grand Slams. Because I won the last Grand Slam, I mean, I’m highest seed here, and to play against Maxime would be easier on Rod Laver, more space. When you play on a smaller court it’s tougher to play somebody who does serve and volley than on a bigger court. It’s like same in Wimbledon, I haven’t even played on Centre, because I don’t count the fifth set which I played after the rain, after being put on Court 2.”

Medvedev also said he was upset by the fact that he was not allowed to run to the bathroom in the usual 90-second break between sets, without it counting as an official bathroom break.

“I don’t see any logic in these rules, so hence I can call this stupid, that I cannot — so the rule is that if you use all your toilet breaks, you can go still pee in the one minute that they have for the change of ends or whatever. So I asked the referee and the supervisor, can I now run to pee in the 1:30 that I have between the sets to then be able to change and still have one change left if there is a fifth set, because I will need to change again, it’s freaking 35 degrees. No, it has to count. Yeah, but I want to do it in 1:30 that I have to change and just don’t count it. I’m going to change after and it’s gonna count. That’s nonsense, so I got, as you can see, pretty mad about it and I think what happened afterwards was a consequence. I’m really sorry to Maxime about it.”

What was really getting under Medvedev’s skin was the quality of Cressy’s game, his serve and volley style – so unusual in the current era – causing him plenty of problems. He found a way, eventually, but it wasn’t easy and he let Cressy know, shouting out: “this is so boring” at one stage, and “this is the unluckiest day of my life” at another.

“I was annoyed with the day, let’s call it like this,” he said. “I’m not really happy about my, let’s call it, mentality today, because again, it was, I mean, I was a little bit harsh with Maxime – who played a really good match – (in a) few moments. At the same time, I’m not the only player to do it, to try to get into my opponent’s head.

“And also, I mean, this can put me off my game, which straightaway when I was screaming something or talking about something or not happy with anything, I was trying to completely refocus straightaway and try to not think about this when I’m playing. I managed to do it pretty well because before every point I was finally ready to fight, to run, and to think, okay, what do I do to win the next point. And that was the most important.”

Medvedev: “Maybe I have to ask (for Rod Laver Arena) every time”

With a battle against Felix Auger-Aliassime to come next, Medvedev said he hoped he would be on Rod Laver Arena now.

“I usually don’t do it (request a particular court), because I don’t want to put pressure or anything on anybody,” he said. “I rarely ask for the time or the court unless somebody comes to me and says, where you want to play and when? Then I’m like, okay, this time on this court. But in Grand Slams it for sure doesn’t always work like this. You can always ask but I usually don’t do it. I asked probably one of the first times here for this tournament one time and I got it.

“So I don’t know. Maybe I have to ask every time. But I don’t really want to be the guy who asks every time: ‘put me on Rod Laver or I’m gonna be unhappy’.”

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