Russia’s Medvedev trolls jeering US Open crowd after middle-finger gesture during 3rd-round win
Fifth seed Medvedev defeated Spain’s Lopez in four sets at Louis Armstrong Stadium, 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 – but the game will largely be remembered for the bitter exchange waged between Medvedev and the New York crowd.
Tensions emerged when Medvedev snapped at a ball boy during the first set when he appeared to bring the tennis star his towel unrequested.
The Russian snatched the towel from the ball boy’s hands before tossing it away, leading to a code violation from umpire Damien Dumusois.
That prompted Medvedev to toss his racket into the center of the court and mutter words of discontent at the official.
Amid boos, Medvedev was then caught on camera appearing to give the crowd the middle finger, which was picked up by replays shown on the big screen.
Dumusois also indicated he had seen the gesture, but that he could not act on it as he had only viewed it on the replay.
The 6ft 6in Medvedev went on to battle his way past Lopez in a late-night thriller at Flushing Meadows, but his battle with the crowd lasted long after the action was over.
In his post-match interview – and with loud jeering ringing in his ears – Medvedev defiantly mocked the crowd by raising his arms with a ‘bring it on’ gesture, saying:
“First of all, what I can say is thank you all because your energy tonight gave me the win."
He fanned the flames further by adding: “If you were not here today, I would probably have lost the match because I was so tired, I was cramping yesterday. I want all of you to know, when you go to sleep at night, I won because of you.
“Again, all I can say, all the energy you’re giving me right now, I want you to know, it will give me energy for my next five matches. The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys. Thank you.”
However, when later asked by reporters about his actions he said: "I am working on myself and hopefully I will be better next time."Also on rt.com US Open: Russia’s Medvedev can be the man to break Big Three’s Grand Slam stranglehold
Medvedev, 23, is a man in form as he bids to progress past the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The Russian has won 17 of his last 19 matches, and went into the US Open on the back of his victory at the Cincinnati Masters, which propelled him to the giddy heights of world number 5.
He is seen as the most likely of the so-called ‘Next Gen’ players to challenge the ‘Big Three’ dominance of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Next up for Medvedev is German world number 118 Dominik Koepfer. As well as his opponent, the Russian can again expect to contend with a belligerent New York crowd.