Medvedev in sombre mood: “Today the kid in me stopped dreaming”
A disappointed Daniil Medvedev said he has lost some of his love for the game after the lack of support he received in the Australian Open final
After narrowly missing out on a first Australian Open title at Melbourne Park on Sunday, Daniil Medvedev cut a somewhat sad figure when he met the press soon after. Not because of the match – he said he was not that disappointed because he played well and it was a great final against Rafael Nadal – but because of the effect the entire occasion had on him.
Choosing to tell a story about his path to the top of the sport, The Russian became a little philosophical and referenced the crowd support – or lack of it, in his case – as the reason why something inside him is no longer there.
“I’m just going to give one small example,” he said. “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. It’s disappointing. It’s disrespectful, it’s disappointing. I’m not sure after (I turn) 30 I’m going to want to play tennis,” Medvedev said.
“From now on 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. I’m going to say it like this. If there is a tournament on hard courts in Moscow, before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I’m going to go there even if I miss the Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever. The kid stopped dreaming. The kid is going to play for himself. That’s it. That’s my story. Thanks for listening, guys.”
“The kid that was dreaming is not anymore in me after today. It will be tougher to continue tennis when it’s like this.”
The crowd in Sunday’s final was heavily on Nadal’s side. The Spaniard has always been a popular figure and at 35, he enjoys even more support, perhaps because fans know he may not be too many more opportunities. But Medvedev was angry that some fans were shouting out between first and second serve and on a couple of occasions, clapped sarcastically in their direction.
Medvedev said he didn’t feel appreciated.
“When I also started to get just a little bit higher (ranked), like top 20, top 30, started to play Roger (Federer), Novak (Djokovic), Rafa, we made some tough matches, I hadn’t beaten them yet, there was a lot of talk – I don’t think there is that much right now – but I remember there was a lot of talk (about how the) young generation should do better, or there were talks like people saying we really want young generation to go for it, to be better, to be stronger,” he said.
“I was like pumped up. Yeah, let’s try to give them hard time and everything. Well, I guess these people were lying because, yeah, every time I stepped on the court in these big matches, I really didn’t see much people who wanted me to win.” It’s cumulative but tonight was, how you say, top of the mountain.”
Medvedev may yet become world No 1 in the coming months, however, and the Russian, who was so close to winning a second straight Grand Slam title, said he was proud of how he’d played.
“I’m not that disappointed,” he said. “Like, it was a huge match, for sure some small points, small details that I could have done better if I wanted to win. But that’s tennis. That’s life. It was a huge match. Rafa played unreal. Raised his level. I mean, two sets to love up, I was like, come on, just go for him, go for more.
“In fifth set, I was like, ‘make him run’. He was unreal. He was really strong, like the way he played, at four hours I was even surprised. But, of course, we know how Rafa can play. He didn’t play for six months. He told me after the match that he didn’t practice so much. It was unreal. Talking about tennis, I have not much regrets. I’m going to try to continue my best. I’m going to work even harder to try to be, yeah, a champion of some of these great tournaments one day.”