Daniil Medvedev: Embracing and Engaging with Fans for Continued Success
Daniil Medvedev shouldn't alienate the crowds that watch him, the Russian needs them.
Wherever Daniil Medvedev seems to go, he becomes the pantomime villain. Admittedly, every era of men's professional tennis has to have one, but you get the impression that Medvedev's acceptance of the role is hurting his career prospects. This is a man, after all, that was tipped to bring the curtain down on the Big Three.
Medvedev closes in on Wimbledon glory
This isn't to say that Medvedev hasn't enjoyed significant success in his career up until now. A quick glance at the outright markets proves this as Medvedev is priced at just +1100 to win Wimbledon in the latest odds on tennis. After impressively reaching the last four at SW19, the undeniable truth remains that Medvedev is a man for the big occasion. This was also proved during the 2021 US Open final when the 27-year-old beat Djokovic in straight sets.
A feat like this against the greatest player of all time is as rare as seeing Halley’s comet and illustrates the Russian’s extraordinary ability.
Still, Medvedev's inability to add to his Grand Slam tally after showing such promise does bring us back to his temperament, which may have cost him the chance to stamp his domination on world tennis.
A complicated history with Grand Slam crowds
In particular, the Russain has lost both Australian Open finals he has played in after altercations with the crowd. Famously, he accused the supporters in Melbourne of unsporting behavior, which is a comment that has - perhaps understandably - never been forgotten. Needless to say, every time Medvedev returns to the Rod Laver Arena, he encounters a mixed reception.
The same is true of his relationship with supporters who attend the US Open after the 27-year-old suggested that their support for Feliciano Lopez and not him drove him on to victory during a win in 2019.
Again, comments like this haven’t always endeared the Flushing Meadows crowd to him and ultimately make life unnecessarily uncomfortable for Medvedev when he returns to Queens every year.
The line between healthy competition and self-sabotage
The late, great Shane Warne once said that if he was losing a game of cricket and going through the motions, he would purposefully pick a fight with a member of the opposition in a bid to stir up his desire to win.
Warne was a master of his craft and often his willingness to stir the pot got the best out of him. There was, however, always a line and come the end of the game, Warne was the first to go into the opposition’s change room to shake hands. Essentially, this was why the Australian was so revered by all he played against and everyone who watched him.
Perhaps Medvedev follows a similar strategy when he engages with the crowd but the problem is that not having them on his side will always ensure that the Russian is playing the person across the net as well as everyone in the stadium.
Instead, if Medvedev can find a way to channel his energy positively and not onto those in attendance, he will soon begin to increase his Grand Slam tally.
Cover Credits: Tennis.com