US Open 2019: Medvedev had to leave 'heart out there' for Flushing Meadows crowd

By Sports Desk September 08, 2019

At the end of his third-round match with Feliciano Lopez, Daniil Medvedev's relationship with the US Open fans seemed fractured beyond repair.

Hearing the boos that provided the soundtrack to his post-match on-court interview at Louis Armstrong Stadium after he had directed a middle-finger gesture at the fans following a disagreement with the umpire, it was impossible to believe Medvedev would be talking about leaving his heart out there for the New York crowd.

Yet that is what the Russian felt he had to do as he battled back from two sets down in a captivating five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final.

Medvedev seemed dead and buried in the match when he trailed 3-2 in the third having gone a break down.

The 23-year-old looked a spent force, but immediately responded and fought back magnificently. His name rang round Arthur Ashe Stadium as he recovered to win the third set, and a frenetic thrill ride of a final then swung dramatically in his direction as a punishing return gave him the decisive break in the fourth.

Nadal returned to being the crowd favourite as an enthralling match moved towards a nail-biting conclusion, with Medvedev unable to take advantage of break points at 1-1 and as the Spaniard served out the match.

Though he ultimately fell short in attempting to erase a 5-2 deficit in the decider, Medvedev's incredible effort and fighting spirit saw him definitively win back the affections of the Flushing Meadows public.

Speaking after his 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 loss, Medvedev was asked if he could have imagined having his name chanted by the crowd last week.

He replied: "I was being myself. I was fighting for every point. I think they appreciated it. Being break down in the third, I won the game, and I felt that these guys wanted some more tennis. They were cheering me up like crazy.

"I knew I had to leave my heart out there for them also. For myself first of all, but for them also. I think they saw it and they appreciate it. I'm thankful to them for this.

"The only thing going through my mind at this moment was I have to win next point, I have to win next game. I was not thinking too much, 'Okay, I'm from Russia, I'm in USA, they are cheering my name, what should I do?' No.

"It was a pleasure to be out there tonight. They were sometimes cheering my name, sometimes they were going for Rafa. I think it was just because the arena is so huge, there were so many people cheering both names, it was like changing all the time. I don't think it will be same people cheering two different names from one point to another.

"The atmosphere was the best of my life, I have to say."

Medvedev demonstrated incredible levels of endurance during his four hours, 49 minutes on court.

Asked if he could see himself competing at the same level at 33 years old, as Nadal continues to do, Medvedev said: "I do see myself at 33 years running and competing like Rafael Nadal.

"Although Rafa said it himself, that he changed his game a lot from younger age to be able to compete at the highest level. Maybe I'll have to do the same. This I cannot know."

Related items

  • Defending champion Tsitsipas sets up Pospisil quarter-final in Marseille Defending champion Tsitsipas sets up Pospisil quarter-final in Marseille

    Stefanos Tsitsipas started the defence of his Open 13 Marseille title with a straight-sets victory over Mikael Ymer to reach the quarter-finals.

    Tsitsipas has made a disappointing start to the season, but took just 71 minutes to dispatch Ymer 6-1 6-3 on Wednesday.

    The ATP Finals champion lost just three points on his first serve and did not face a solitary break point in an emphatic win.

    Second seed Tsitsipas will face Vasek Pospisil in the last eight following the Canadian's 6-3 6-4 defeat of eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz.

    Sixth seed Benoit Paire made a surprise exit in his homeland, going down 3-6 6-4 6-4 to Alexander Bublik in the second round.

    It was anything but plain sailing for Felix Auger-Aliassime, who saved two match points before getting past Stefano Travaglia 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

    Auger-Aliassime's second-round opponent will be Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victor in his match against Mikhail Kukushkin. 

    Egor Gerasimov also reached round two by knocking out fellow qualifier Dennis Novak.

  • Halep passes major Jabeur test in Dubai Halep passes major Jabeur test in Dubai

    Top seed Simona Halep saved a match point in a gripping battle with Ons Jabeur before sealing her place in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

    Halep was on the brink of a surprise defeat to the in-form world number 45, but hung in there to win a thriller 1-6 6-2 7-6 (9-7) on Wednesday.

    The two-time grand slam champion and Jabeur were given great backing from passionate Romanian and Tunisian supporters in a pulsating contest that swung one way and the other.

    Halep appeared destined to complete the turnaround with ease when she led 3-0 in the final set, but the tenacious Jabeur was relishing the battle and showed great spirit to take the upper hand at 6-5.

    The unseeded Jabeur was broken to love when serving for the match, though, and a double-fault gifted 2015 champion Halep a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, yet there was more drama to come.

    Jabeur fended off three match points to earn one of her own, but Halep showed her grit to win the next two points before her gutsy opponent drilled a forehand long to end a tense two-hour contest.

    Halep will face Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight after the seventh seed defeated Elise Mertens 6-4 6-3.

    Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza advanced with a hard-fought Veronika Kudermetova, winning 7-5 4-6 6-4 two days after knocking out the returning Kim Clijsters.

    Elena Rybakina, a three-time finalist this year, got the better of Katerina Siniakova for the second successive week, a 6-3, 6-3 victory setting up a meeting with Karolina Pliskova.

    Second seed Pliskova lost just three games in emphatic defeat of Kristina Mladenovic, while Petra Martic, Jennifer Brady and Anett Kontaveit were also victorious.

  • Thiem through at Rio Open as Sock ends long wait Thiem through at Rio Open as Sock ends long wait

    Dominic Thiem resumed his season with a first-round win at the Rio Open, while Jack Sock finally ended his wait for another victory.

    Thiem, last in action in an Australian Open final loss to Novak Djokovic, returned with a 6-2 4-6 6-1 victory over wildcard Felipe Meligeni Alves on Tuesday.

    The 2017 champion of the ATP 500 event played on clay in Brazil, top seed Thiem grabbed two breaks of serve in the deciding set.

    Having started 2020 with four losses in five matches, Borna Coric found a victory by overcoming Juan Ignacio Londero 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

    Dusan Lajovic joined Thiem and Coric as the three seeds to win, but two fell in the opening round.

    Casper Ruud, coming off a title win at the Argentina Open, went down to qualifier Gianluca Mager 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

    Guido Pella, the 2016 runner-up, was edged by Thiago Monteiro 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after just over three hours.

    At the Delray Beach Open, Sock claimed his first non-Laver Cup singles win since late 2018.

    The American 2017 champion, a wildcard, battled past last year's winner Radu Albot 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2), saving a match point in the final set and breaking down in tears following his victory.

    Canadian second seed Milos Raonic brushed past lucky loser Denis Istomin 6-2 6-2 and Reilly Opelka served 20 aces in a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory over Ernests Gulbis.

    Ugo Humbert, the French sixth seed, battled through, while third seed Taylor Fritz fell to qualifier Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.