Heated latest instalment of Medvedev-Tsitsipas rivarly as Russian reaches the final

Medvedev needed four sets to beat Greek and reach intriguing Australian open final

As cameras continue to follow players in every direction ahead of the coming Netflix docu-series on professional tennis, Friday saw men’s tennis’ marquee grudge match return to the big stage as Daniil Medvedev defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a chaotic encounter filled with drama and high-quality tennis.

Medvedev will face Rafael Nadal on Sunday after reaching the Australian Open final for the second successive year. The US Open champion’s victory has unlocked a rare achievement as he is just the second men’s player in the open era to reach a grand slam final immediately after their first ever major title. Andy Murray is the only other man to achieve this feat, having reached the 2013 Australian Open final after winning the 2012 US Open.

After a quality opening set was won by Medvedev, the encounter descended into chaos as the Russian received a visible obscenity warning after gesturing to the crowd, prompting Medvedev to scream at the umpire, Jaume Campistol, throughout the changeover from his bench and criticise him for not addressing the coaching he could hear being directed at Tsitsipas by his father and coach, Apostolos. During one exchange, Medvedev suggested that the umpire would be a coward if he did not penalise Tsitsipas. “If you don’t, you are - how can I say it - a small cat,” he said.

Medvedev’s protests appeared to have been noted. By the fourth set, Eva Asderaki-Moore, a prominent Greek umpire and a tournament referee, stood in the tunnel by Tsitsipas’ team box. Asderaki signaled to the umpire that Tsisipas was receiving coaching and the umpire promptly gave him a warning.

“They’ve been targeting me already a long time,” said Tsitsipas, who also said he did not hear his father and that he has told him to stop. “I feel like I’ve gotten a few in the past, and the umpires are always paying attention to my box, never paying attention to the opponent’s box,” he added. “I feel I have been a victim of that for a long time now.”

As Medvedev shook Campistol’s hand, he apologised to the umpire for his outburst and later admitted his actions were wrong. “I was definitely out of my mind, if we can say like this,” he said. “Like, I was not controlling myself anymore about anything, and that’s actually why I’m really happy to win, because many matches like this I would go on just to, you know, to do mistakes, because you lose your concentration a lot when you get in this heat of the moment things.”

Tension between Tsitsipas and Medvedev began four years ago when the pair had a disagreement at the Miami Open, during which Medvedev told Tsitsipas: “Man, you better shut your f*ck up, OK?” Their mutual grudge has only endured. In his press conference, Tsitsipas suggested that Medvedev was playing mind games. “Well, it’s for sure funny,” he said, smiling. “It’s funny. I don’t pay attention to the stuff. I know players like to do this stuff to throw you off mentally. Could be maybe a tactic. It’s all right. He’s not the most mature person anyways.”

Asked about his thoughts on Medvedev’s game, Tsitsipas also cast doubt on Medvedev’s longevity due to his style of play: “He’s a great competitor. He runs like a marathon runner, he can run for hours and hours,” he said. “I’m not sure myself if that’s something that can last very long, having to run so much.”

- Guardian

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