In the final match of the evening on Friday, Daniil Medvedev defeated Feliciano Lopez with a 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory. His third-round win at the U.S. Open was rewarded with a shower of boos as the 23-year-old Russian approached center court for his post match interview. Like any good sports villain, he not only relished in the hate, but he also did what he could to keep the jeers going.
Thank you all guys, because your energy tonight give me the win. Because if you were not here, guys, I would probably lose the match because I was so tired, I was cramping yesterday, it was so tough on me to play. So I want all of you to know, when you sleep tonight, I won because of you.
Again, the only thing I can say, the energy you’re giving me right now, guys, I think it will be enough for my five next matches. The more you do this, the more I will win, for you guys.
The New York crowd’s anger wasn’t exactly manufactured out of thin air. It came as a result of Medvedev adding yet another on-court meltdown to his résumé. It began in the first set when he was a dick to a ballperson, and got upset when he was subsequently penalized for being a dick.
He then not-so-subtly flipped off the umpire as he walked past his chair.
From there, the dam broke and for the rest of his match, the crowd let him have it. Every point, winner, or general stroke of good fortune was greeted with jeering.
For what it’s worth, Medvedev left his heel-like persona out on the court and gave a more level-headed response to questions about his antics and the crowd itself. Per AP Sports:
“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.”
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.”
U.S. Open attendees will have their next opportunity to serenade the Russian with boos on Sunday when he takes on 118th-ranked qualifier Dominik Koepfer.