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13 Feb, 2021 14:44

‘Can you just let me play?’: Medvedev claims coach was ‘sure’ he would win despite bailing as he suffered Australian Open meltdown

‘Can you just let me play?’: Medvedev claims coach was ‘sure’ he would win despite bailing as he suffered Australian Open meltdown

Russian contender Daniil Medvedev was involved in an extraordinary row at the Australian Open - then claimed his coach had assured him he was certain of victory despite bailing on him after he blew a two-set lead during a match.

Rattled Medvedev took the pressure out on coach Gilles Cervara as he faltered worryingly against Filip Krajinovic in the third round, shouting at his box after losing the third set and going 4-1 down in the fourth.

The fourth seed appeared to suggest that he would rather Cervara left than kept offering him unwelcome guidance on reviving his fortunes, causing his coach to reportedly grab his bag and leave Melbourne Park after interpreters said Medvedev had told him in French: "Can you just let me play?"

Despite Medvedev's failure to win on any of the previous six occasions when he had played five sets in his colorful career, the world number four insisted that Cervara's exit had not been a sign of low confidence in his prospects of hitting back against a resurgent opponent ranked 29 places below him.

"He said just before leaving that he's sure I'm going to win the match, but he's going to leave to let me be more calm," the 25-year-old said after the fiery altercation.

"Sometimes maybe I will disagree but this time for sure it was a good thing to do. Today it helped and definitely we're going to talk about it a little bit, but there is not a big deal."

Fans were less convinced after watching temperamental Medvedev beat the Serb in style, winning the deciding set 6-0 as Cervara's banishment appeared to have the desired effect.

"Danil Medvedev is not respectful at all," said one. "You fight with your own coach and pressure him until he walks out. Between him and Novak Djokovic, I don't know who is worse."

Another asked: "Did Medvedev kick his coach to the curb becuase he felt he was being coached during the match or because his coach had too much confidence in him? I'm not understanding."

One critic blasted: "I’ve said it all along: tennis players are petulant, spoilt rich kids. These temper tantrums only add to my thinking."

With top seeds Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal facing injury concerns in the first week, Medvedev will feel he has an excellent chance of winning the Grand Slam - but his clash with Krajinovic was a demandingly eventful one.

The ATP Finals winner frequently showed his frustration in French, Russian and English, received a medical time-out during his fourth-set struggles after complaining of buttock pain and was unhappy with the spider camera that is used to produce footage of matches, shouting at one point: "This Australian Open sucks."

He later admitted that his occasional emotional outbursts do not "help me to play good", adding: "Now I think I have made big steps already working on my mental strengths."

Also on rt.com Cup heroes: With Medvedev the finals champ and Rublev equaling Djokovic last year, Russia’s ATP stars are set for a storming 2021