Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev has been accused of an act of underhanded gamesmanship against Aussie Alex de Minaur after walking off the court for almost 30 minutes when he was losing badly.
The 13th seeded de Minaur shocked the world No 3 in their round of 16 clash at the US Open by taking the first set 6-2.
That prompted Medvedev to gather up his entire kit bag and leave the court for an extended period, returning in a complete change of clothes.
After struggling in the first set, the re-energised Russian found his mojo during the extended break and cruised through the next three sets to turn the match on its head, ultimately winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
The dodgy act had plenty of fans questioning Medvedev’s tactics.
‘He should have been forced to retire from the match. Easy to cheat,’ one fumed.
‘Match fix Medvedev decided to show up finally,’ another posted.
‘That is the Medvedev we know,’ another fan replied.
Medvedev was struggling in the first set but cruised through the next three sets to claim victory after an extended break
De Minaur fell into a black hole after the break and was crushed by Medvedev in the next two sets
Australian doubles champion Todd Woodbridge was also scathing in commentary.
‘This is a strange situation in the match,’ Woodbridge said on Channel 9.
‘A 31-minute set, Medvedev leaves the court, took his whole bag… why do you need to leave the court for that long?
‘It’s not a toilet break, is he changing full kit? Shouldn’t that be at a certain time? I tell you, I think our sport really has to do something about these changeovers.
‘It’s just such a crutch that everyone seems to go to when they’re down, and it’s just not part of the game.
‘It shouldn’t be there, I implore our rules officials to get in and stop all this stuff going on, because it’s just momentum changes in matches that we shouldn’t have.
De Minaur struggled to keep pace with the world No 3 after the break between sets where Medvedev also used an inhaler
The Russian claimed he was having troubles breathing and used an inhaler after dropping the first set to the Aussie star
Medvedev had also complained of having difficulty breathing in the hot conditions at Louis Armstrong Stadium and received permission from the chair umpire to use an inhaler.
The incident happened after Medvedev’s tough second round match against fellow Australian Chris O’Connell who also used an inhaler after claiming to have respiratory problems..
O’Connell launched a spirited fight back in the third set which he claimed in a tiebreaker following the use of the inhaler.
After losing the set, Medvedev asked the doctor: ‘Can I have what he had?’
the doctor replied: ‘Are you having those symptoms?’
Medvedev replied: ‘Well, I lost the set. I had trouble too, I want the same thing.’
Some tennis fans said that Medvedev had obviously learned from that experience, ensuring he had access to an inhaler for future matches.
‘The last person Medvedev played was having trouble breathing. They gave him a inhaler. His tennis really picked up, Medvedev asked if he could have the inhaler and was told no. Tonight he made sure he got the inhaler he is a con,’ one fan posted.
However others said it was just sour grapes from the Australians and Medvedev was playing within the rules.
‘It is allowed in the rules and there is only one rule — RULES IS RULES — many at the top have done it before,’ one posted.
Medvedev will face Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.
‘That was really impressive, that was a big turnaround after dropping the first set,’ Woodbridge said.
‘For Alex, another great tournament, but he’ll be disappointed by that scoreline after how he started. He was outplayed in the end, unfortunately.’