Daniil Medvedev has charmed the Wimbledon crowd on the Russian’s return to SW19

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Daniil Medvedev has developed an unlikely bond with the Wimbledon crowd over the past fortnight, with the charismatic 27-year-old negotiating his return to the All England Club in style.

Medvedev was among the Russian and Belarussian stars to have been banned from last year’s tournament due to the war in Ukraine, a move that led to the Wimbledon being fined by tennis’ governing bodies.

For his part, Medvedev had declared that he wanted to ‘promote peace all over the world’ when the war began last year.

The reversal of Wimbledon’s decision has allowed the likes of Medvedev to return and thrive on the grass courts.

The world number three has enjoyed his best showing at Wimbledon to date as he ended the fairytale run of American Chris Eubanks to set up a semi-final against top seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Russia's Daniil Medvedev has enjoyed his best run at Wimbledon by reaching the semi-finals

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev has enjoyed his best run at Wimbledon by reaching the semi-finals

The charismatic Medvedev has charmed Wimbledon's crowd on his return to the tournament

The charismatic Medvedev has charmed Wimbledon’s crowd on his return to the tournament

Prior to the third Grand Slam of the season, Medvedev had spoken of his love of Wimbledon and his disappointment at being forced to miss last year’s event.

‘I really missed playing Wimbledon. I’ve always loved it. The first time I came I thought it was the best tournament in the world. Every flower was in place and I was so nervous and excited,’ he said.

‘Every time I come back, I feel really special. I was disappointed not to be able to play last year. I couldn’t play, I followed the rules and spent time with my family.

‘But it doesn’t give me extra motivation for this year — that comes from Wimbledon being my worst Slam in terms of results.’

Medvedev, known for his fiery temper on court, went further to embracing the Wimbledon crowd following his first round win, vowing to ‘behave’ for the remainder of the tournament after being touched by their support. 

‘The reception today, I don’t feel it that often. I was really touched by it,’ Medvedev said.

‘I’m going to try and give it back, show some good tennis.

‘I will try and not get crazy, not be a selfish kid on the court. Sometimes I can be.’

Medvedev has proved successful in the past in upsetting the odds, with the Russian potentially posing a real threat to Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic’s hopes of winning the tournament. 

Crowd relationships 

While Medvedev has enjoyed a strong relationship with the crowd at Wimbledon, the Russian has clashed with spectators in the past.

Medvedev famously goaded the US Open crowd following a victory against Feliciano Lopez back in 2019 after being booed by spectators during the match, and was pictured slyly giving fans the finger.

The boos stemmed from Medvedev snatching a towel out of a ball person’s hands, before confronting the umpire after being warned over the incident.

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In a memorable on court interview, Medvedev told the crowd that their response to him had contributed to his victory.

‘I want all of you to know, when you go to sleep at night, I won because of you,’ he said.

‘The energy you’re giving me right now, guys, I think it will be enough for my five next matches. 

‘The more you do this, the more I will win, for you guys.’ 

Medvedev clashed with the US Open crowd in 2019 after an incident with a ball person

Medvedev clashed with the US Open crowd in 2019 after an incident with a ball person

He was also pictured giving the angry crowd the middle finger at Flushing Meadows

He was also pictured giving the angry crowd the middle finger at Flushing Meadows 

The Russian goaded the crowd post-match by insisting that they had contributed to his victory

The Russian goaded the crowd post-match by insisting that they had contributed to his victory

Medvedev similarly clashed with the Australian Open crowd last year, who he described as having a ‘low IQ’ following his win over Nick Kyrgios.

Following his loss to Nadal in the final, Medvedev went as far as claiming that the fans at the tournament had stopped him from dreaming.

‘From now on I’m playing for myself, for my family, to provide my family, for people that trust in me, of course for all the Russians because I feel a lot of support there,’ Medvedev said.

‘I’m going to say it like this. If there is a tournament on hard courts in Moscow, before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I’m going to go there even if I miss the Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever. 

‘The kid stopped dreaming. The kid is going to play for himself. That’s it. That’s my story.’

On court antics

The world number three has described himself as ‘hot blooded’ on the court, but very easy going off it.

Medvedev has openly admitted to having behaved poorly on court at times during his career, including an occasion in 2017 where he was investigated by Wimbledon for allegedly throwing coins at the umpires chair.

Earlier this year, Medvedev complained repeatedly about the slowness of the hard courts at Indian Wells, prompting several discussions with the umpire during a match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

Medvedev had been heard quipping ‘I know what is a hard court, I’m a specialist in hard courts’ during one exchange. Following his loss in the final, Medvedev joked that he had a ‘toxic relationship’ with the courts.

The Russian later claimed he was looking to improve his behaviour to avoid ‘tantrums’, which he said were fuelled by a desire not to lose.

‘That’s something I want to improve. And yeah, for example, talking about Indian Wells, I had my tantrums, which it’s not good,’ Medvedev said.

Medvedev was beaten by Spain's Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final earlier this season

Medvedev was beaten by Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final earlier this season

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The Russian was a surprise winner of the Italian Open this year despite his dislike of clay courts

The Russian was a surprise winner of the Italian Open this year despite his dislike of clay courts

‘Starting from when I was really young, no matter which game I play, I hate to lose. So I actually hate to lose more than I like to win, and you can kind of see this on the court.’

Another famous incident came at the Rome Masters, where an exasperated Medvedev was heard complaining about his dislike of the clay court surface.

Medvedev had been heard saying ‘You like to be in the dirt like a dog? It’s okay, I don’t judge,’ while another outburst shouted ‘I don’t want to play here on this surface’.

The 27-year-old however demonstrated his ability to adapt, as he surprisingly beat Holger Rune in the final of the the same event earlier this year to secure a maiden clay court title.

‘I always want to believe in myself and I always try to do my best, I want to win the biggest tournaments in the world,’ Medvedev said post-match.

‘At the same time, I didn’t believe much that I could win a Masters 1000 on the clay in my career because usually I hate it.

‘I don’t think I love it [clay]. I love hardcourts, it’s my only love in tennis. But I definitely love clay courts much more now.’

Celebrations

Medvedev’s quirky nature has been displayed by some curious celebrations during his career.

He notably marked his maiden Grand Slam triumph at the US Open with a ‘dead fish celebration’ on the court, referencing the FIFA video game series.

‘Only legends will understand. What I did after the match was L2 + left,’ Medvedev said.

‘I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one.

‘I talked to the guys in the locker room, they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. 

‘That’s how I wanted to make it. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.’

Medvedev has entertained crowds with his antics included a famous US Open final celebration

Medvedev has entertained crowds with his antics included a famous US Open final celebration

He similarly went viral on social media after producing a bizarre dance following his victory over Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during the Rome Masters. 

It followed Tsitsipas having produced a similar dance after beating Medvedev at a previous tournament.

‘I did once in US Open and it was famous,’ Medvedev said.

‘I like the GIF so let’s see what comes up with this one because when you do it, it’s like being in the club completely drunk.

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When you’re dancing, and I have a lot of friends like this, you feel like you’re the god of the dance pole. But then they show you the video, you know, it was not the thing. So I don’t know how did it go.’ 

Career to date

Medvedev’s career highlight remains his US Open triumph in 2021, which to date remains the sole Grand Slam title of his career.

The Russian produced an outstanding display in the final to defeat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at Flushing Meadows.

Medvedev had proved the ultimate spoiler as he prevented Djokovic from completing the calendar Grand Slam at the final hurdle.

The result saw Medvedev secure the world number one ranking for the first time in his career.

A second Grand Slam title has proved elusive with the Monte-Carlo based star having twice suffered defeats in the Australian Open final.

The 2021 final ended in a straight sets loss to Novak Djokovic, while Rafael Nadal fought back from two sets down to win a five-set epic in Melbourne at the start of 2022.

Medvedev endured a difficult season following the defeat as he failed to reach the quarter-finals of both the French and US Open last year.

Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic's dream of a calendar Grand Slam with his 2021 US Open win

Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic’s dream of a calendar Grand Slam with his 2021 US Open win

The Russian suffered defeat in the 2022 Australian Open final after Rafael Nadal's fightback

The Russian suffered defeat in the 2022 Australian Open final after Rafael Nadal’s fightback

Medvedev overcame Andy Murray in Doha to claim one of five titles this season

The Russian star has bounced back impressively following a difficult 2022 season

Medvedev has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons with five titles during 2023

Wimbledon has marked a return to form at Grand Slam tournaments, with Medvedev having suffered a third round loss at the Australian Open, before bowing out in the first round at the Roland Garros last month.

The Russian has, however, enjoyed a superb season to date as he reached five consecutive tour level finals in the early part of the year.

Medvedev secured titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai before Carlos Alcaraz ended his winning streak by winning in straight sets in the Indian Wells final. The Russian immediately responded by triumphing at the Miami Open.

The 6ft 6in player holds an outright record on the ATP tour of winning 20 tour-level titles in 20 different cities, which has seen him build an eclectic trophy collection.

Fellow Russian star Andrey Rublev, Medvedev’s childhood friend, has previously commented that the star resembles an Octopus due to his long reach and playing style.

Medvedev, who speaks French and English, has credited much of his success to his wife Daria, who he shares a daughter. He joked during his on court interview after his US Open triumph that he had to win the final due to it date coinciding with their wedding anniversary.

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