Australian Open hope Daniil Medvedev vows to mature, improve his attitude with the sometimes volatile Melbourne Park crowd

Former Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev has vowed to mature on the court as he prepares to return to a city where he has been booed and heckled in the past.

The world No. 3, who begins his Australian Open campaign against a qualifier, has endured an antagonistic relationship with crowds at Melbourne Park and in New York in recent years.

Medvedev was upset with the treatment he received from the crowd during a loss to Rafael Nadal during the Australian Open final two years ago when he surrendered a two set lead.

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The Russian was also heckled and jeered during a match earlier in the tournament against Nick Kyrgios, which was highlighted in the ABC documentary Australia’s Open last week.

But Medvedev, who embraced the role of anti-hero with success at the 2021 US Open when denying Novak Djokovic a calendar Grand Slam, acknowledges his role in the drama.

“Sometimes I feel it could be, how (do) we call it, not fair in a way. Life is not fair. (But) sometimes I would deserve it for different actions that I did,” he said.

“I want to change. I want to mature. I feel like I’ve (taken) a big step these last months. Hopefully people can see it on the court, because that’s the toughest challenge, (at) tournaments.

“When you’re on court, that’s where the adrenaline is at its highest. That’s where it’s tougher to control your emotions. That’s how I want to be.

“I know maybe (the Australian Open) was not the best grand slam in terms of me and the crowd. Even if something happens, I just want to kind of go with who I am, try to do less of stupid things that don’t help me as a person and tennis player.

“Hopefully I can achieve it this season and we’re going to see a new Daniil Medvedev. It’s too early to say. We’ll have to see at the end of the season.”

The 27-year-old was quizzed as to whether he has watched the second season of the Netflix documentary Break Point, in which he features in an episode profiling Alexander Zverev.

The episode has been widely panned given it makes no mention of the domestic abuse allegations levelled at the German by two former partners, one of which has gone to court.

Zverev, who categorically denies the allegations, is shown on film celebrating a loss experienced by Medvedev, whose wife is a friend of one of the women.

“I didn’t watch the episode. I saw a little bit here and there. I’m still on social media. I didn’t watch it and probably will not because I’ll get frustrated, probably,” Medvedev said.

“I heard a little bit. I don’t have much to say. That’s how Netflix is, and that’s why we see it, because it exaggerates things. It’s usually hot and cold. There is no neutral.

“People around me, people in the locker room, they know how I am … on court, which can be tricky, how I am off court. I feel like I have a good relationship with most of the tour.

“I don’t have much to add because, yeah, the series is not real life.”

Medvedev, who broke through for a maiden clay court title in the Italian Open last year, has an outstanding record on hard courts, which includes his US Open success in 2021.

A finalist at the US Open in 2023, he is considered a leading threat to Djokovic’s Melbourne Park reign alongside Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz and Italian Jannik Sinner.

But the angular right-hander arrived in Melbourne a week ago with a significant change to his preparation.

For the first time, Medvedev has not played a lead-in event, but feels there might be a reward that comes from his considered gamble.

“I think everything feels like a risk, especially when you try it for the first time,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever played an Australian Open, which is the first slam of the year, without a warm-up tournament.

“Usually the first match can be little bit not easy sometimes in the season.

“There is always a risk. But as I say, otherwise I would be 35 years old and I would be, like, I actually never spent a New Year at home.

“I’ve never done this. So I decided that is a year to try.

“Last year, after the US Open, I felt that mentally and physically, I was not what I wanted to be. I decided it’s going to be a good thing to try this.”

Originally published as Tennis villain Daniil Medvedev taking a fresh approach to 2024

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