Tennis star slapped after bursting on ballkids
A rant about the ballkids in the Australian Open final appears to have been the beginning of the end for world number 2 Daniil Medvedev as Rafael Nadal claimed his 21st Grand Slam title on Sunday night.
Medvedev opened up about his difficult run throughout the tournament, where he was regularly booed and endured an ongoing battle with fans as he raged over noise between points and “disrespect ” general of the spectators.
However, Medvedev was happy to play the bad guy, trolling the Aussies with references to Novak Djokovic and slamming fans for having a ‘low IQ’.
But during the final, Medvedev was feeling the pressure – even leading two sets to like and up 4–3 in the third set.
With the set still rolling on serve at that point, Nadal ended up breaking – changing the momentum and clearing the way for him to win the third set and then the next two.
Medvedev said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in semi-final ‘I don’t think bad emotions help me too much’ but it looks like he hasn’t learned his lesson as 25-year-old slams the performance of the ballkids during the third set of Sunday’s decider.
He seemed to take issue with the ballkids not always having enough balls to supply him, or that possession of the ball is unevenly shared on the pitch between the young volunteers, impacting his pace.
“Aren’t they allowed to pass the ball to each other?” he declaimed to referee John Blom
“They don’t have to circle around the pitch – they can just pass one ball to another.
Blom explained, “They only have one way to do it. If you want them on the same side, the number of balls, I’ll talk to them.”
Daniil Medvedev gestures as he talks to chair umpire John Blom. Photo/AP
With a look of disbelief on his face, Medvedev continued, “Two and two, and they can pass to each other. It doesn’t have to be in the middle.”
Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge noted the exchange in a comment for Nine, asking American tennis great Jim Courier: “Why at this point, two sets to like, 4–3 on serve, would you look annoyed and engaging like that with the referee?”
Courier replied: “Probably because he just had a bunch of break points a few games ago and you didn’t get it. It’s just a bit of a pressure release for him I think. .That’s what we were looking for.Both the ballkids had no balls.Quirky, kinda.
Footage also showed Medvedev tried to organize the ballkids before complaining to the referee.
There was a swift reaction on social media when the Australians called out the Russian for his ball baking.
Former Hockeyroo Georgie Parker tweeted: “Get mad at the ref. Get mad at your opponent. Get mad at the crowd…but don’t you dare get mad at the kids ball.”
Minutes after the ballkid exploded, Nadal held his serve and Medvedev engaged with the crowd when an unforced error opened up two break points for the Spaniard.
Medvedev kicked the ball into the net and sarcastically clapped his racket to a chorus of boos from the fans.
Courier said: “He doesn’t like it when they cheer for unforced errors, but it’s their right, they paid the ticket…”
Tennis commentator Jose Morgado said Medvedev’s collapse and subsequent fall was a major highlight of the match, tweeting: “Total cerebral fart from Medvedev two games away from the title. Nadal will serve for 3rd set. “
After the five-set loss, Medvedev was in no mood for the trophy presentation, appearing to utter the word “boring” during Tennis Australia president Jayne Hrdlicka’s speech.
“Daniil, you had the most amazing tournament,” she said. “You found yourself in difficult times along the way. You showed that you never finished and you never finished until the very last point. Congratulations on a great tournament.
“You were clearly determined to beat history in the making for the second time in a row and that didn’t happen tonight, but there’s no doubt that we’ll see you back here and you’re about to make your own records in the tennis history books. Congratulations.”
Medvedev also gave an emotional press conference where he appeared to blame the crowd for breaking his spirit.
“I’m just talking about a few times when the kid stopped dreaming, and today was one of them. I’m not really going to say why,” he said, adding that from now on he won’t be playing. only for him and his family. .
The result does not change Medvedev’s position in the ATP rankings. He is now closer to world number one Novak Djokovic after the Serbian star’s visa drama, just 890 points behind.