Daniil Medvedev raises concerns about playing with 100% crowds, refuses to comment on Stefanos Tsitsipas’ vaccination stance

Daniil Medvedev’s purple patch during the American hardcourt swing is showing no signs of stopping. The Russian registered a routine straight-sets win over Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

In his press conference after the match Medvedev spoke on a variety of topics, including the weather, the presence of crowds, and the importance of building confidence for the US Open. However, the Russian refused to get involved in the COVID-19 vaccination controversy that has recently arisen in the wake of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ comments.

Medvedev and Dimitrov exchanged breaks early in the opening set before the Russian got the decisive break in the sixth game. The second set was much more straightforward as Medvedev piled up pressure on the Bulgarian’s serve before completing a 6-3 6-3 win.

As effortless as the scoreline looks on paper, it was anything but, as Daniil Medvedev himself acknowledged.

“Was pretty hot today, so I think it was tough for both of us,” Medvedev said. “A few moments in the match I felt like, not that I don’t have a lot of fuel left, because you always have a lot, but it was really tough, and that’s the moment I actually saw Grigor suffering, also struggling. That’s how it is. It’s the same for everybody.”

Daniil Medvedev’s serve was solid during the match on Thursday; he registered a 66% success rate on it. Medvedev also hit seven aces and a bunch of service winners, which helped him stay fresher for the return games. He won an impressive 48% of the points played while receiving.

The Australian Open finalist gave credit to his serve, calling it the main difference between himself and Dimitrov in the match.

“Since we had so many long rallies, I think the biggest difference today was the serve, where I was able to get more easy points on my serve. Yeah, just make my life easier with this,” Medvedev said. “I think I probably won a little bit more points when it was over nine shots, or usually they have these statistics, I think I would be on top of this, and that’s what made the biggest difference today in the match.”

Daniil Medvedev is one of the biggest entertainers in tennis. Whether it is with his unique racket skills or with his on-court tantrums, the Russian always finds a way to amuse the crowd.

But when asked how he felt about having stadiums filled with crowds again, Medvedev was guarded in his response. The 25-year-old highlighted the perils of allowing unrestricted attendance at tournaments, pointing out that there would be questions asked if COVID positive cases emerged.

“It’s cool that the crowd is back,” Medvedev said. “Of course actually also what we need to see is the number of cases, especially between us tennis players. If, for example, there is going to be tournament where there is 100% capacity and then the positive cases go up, then there is going to be question.”

But the Russian was quick to add that despite his concerns, he would enjoy having the crowds back.

“With the crowd, it’s much more fun, yeah, nothing else to add, actually,” he said.

Daniil Medvedev was later asked about his views on the COVID-19 vaccine. A couple of days ago, his colleague Stefanos Tsitsipas came under heavy criticism for his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccination. But Medvedev didn’t directly comment on Tsitsipas or his statement, nor did he expressly state whether he would take the vaccine himself.

The Russian, instead, simply asserted that he wants everyone to be safe.

“The most important thing I have to say is that I’m for people being safe,” Medvedev said. “That’s the only thing I have to say on this, actually.”

It is pertinent to note that back in February, Daniil Medvedev had expressed a “pro-choice” stance with respect to vaccination. He had also stated he wouldn’t get vaccinated himself due to “medical reasons.”

“The more matches you win in Canada and Cincinnati, the more confidence you’re going to have” – Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev is cautious about crowds returning
Daniil Medvedev is cautious about crowds returning

Daniil Medvedev is widely considered one of the top contenders for the upcoming US Open, and the biggest obstacle standing in the way of Novak Djokovic and a prestigious Calendar Grand Slam. The World No. 2 is proving himself to be the player to beat on hardcourts, having already won a big title in this year’s North American hardcourt swing (last week’s Canadian Open).

On being asked if he feels he is in the best possible position going into the last Major of the year, Medvedev acknowledged that Toronto and Cincinnati provide the right warm-up for the US Open.

“I mean, the more matches you win in these two tournaments (Canada and Cincinnati), because they are very similar to New York, the more confidence you’re going to have,” the Russian said. “Yeah, confidence is a big key in tennis.”

The Russian will next play Pablo Carreno Busta in the Cincinnati quarterfinals on Friday.

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