A year after Iga Swiatek’s well-publicised complaints about women’s players competing with a different, lighter ball compared to their male counterparts during the North American hard court swing, this time the men also have reason to be frustrated. Daniil Medvedev, the world No 3, expressed bemusement at the balls and difficult conditions in Cincinnati, even as he advanced to the third round on Wednesday.
Medvedev, the third seed, moved on with an easy 6-3, 6-2 win against Lorenzo Musetti of Italy. Still, he felt that he was far from his best due to reasons beyond his own form.
“It’s not easy to play here,” Medvedev said. “I felt like there was a talk a little bit in the locker room. Tough, tough, tough conditions in general. I feel like if you don’t need a perfect shot, [at] many tournaments in the world – and that’s why we’re the best players – it’s still in the courts, just maybe not as precise as we would like. Here, it goes out directly.”
While Medvedev’s temper often flares when he feels he is not playing up to his standards, he said he had seen the high unforced error counts and messy tennis from various players in the early days of the event, so he had braced himself for a higher number of errors.
“A lot of errors from everyone; that’s what I saw on TV, so I was ready. I was like: ‘OK.’ If I miss, I usually hate it because I usually don’t miss. Here I was like: ‘If I miss, I don’t care.’ Next point, I tried to put it in. So in general the match felt strange. I feel like we were both missing, but that’s normal for here. So hopefully in the next matches, more and more, I’ll get used to it and play better and better.”
This year in Cincinnati and the US Open, the women are competing with the same heavier Wilson extra duty ball as their male colleagues. Fresh off one of the biggest weeks of her career, the third seed, Jessica Pegula, defeated Martina Trevisan 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round in Cincinnati.
Last week Pegula produced a monumental win against the world No 1, Iga Swiatek, en route to winning her second career WTA 1000 title in Montreal. Faced with a quick turnaround after the final on Sunday, Pegula started sluggishly and struggled to contain her frustration before recovering from a set down to advance.