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31 Jan, 2022 13:10

Medvedev drops hint over future after Australian Open heartbreak (VIDEO)

Daniil Medvedev has pledged to return to his tennis roots after his razor-thin loss to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final
Medvedev drops hint over future after Australian Open heartbreak (VIDEO)

Russia's Daniil Medvedev, who lost an epic back-and-forth tussle with Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Australian Open mens singles final, has pledged to recapture his love of tennis after he says the "kid stopped dreaming", even if that means skipping upcoming Grand Slam tournaments.

Medvedev was outlasted by Nadal in an epic five-and-a-half hour encounter at the Rod Laver Arena, where it seemed he was battling both the resurgent Spaniard and a hostile Melbourne crowd.

The outspoken US Open champion was critical of the Aussie audience on several occasions throughout his run to the final – notably failing to pay lip-service to the locals in post-match comments in which he thanked everyone but those huddled into Melbourne Park to watch him play. 

And afterwards, Medvedev reflected on his weeks-long battle to claim the first Grand Slam of 2022, saying that in future he is going to "play for myself" and warning that he would happily miss out on the French Open or Wimbledon if it meant he could play a tournament in his home capital of Moscow.

"Just talking about a few moments where the kid stopped dreaming, and today was one of them – I'm not really going to tell why," Medvedev said after his loss to Nadal.

"So from now on, I'm playing for myself, for my family... to provide [for] my family. For people that trust in me. Of course, for all the Russians because I feel a lot of support there.

"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 Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever. 

"The kid stopped dreaming. The kid is going to play for himself and that's it - that's my story."

However, the man who pipped him to the post in Sunday's all-time classic said that he believes Medvedev will emerge from the experience stronger, and suggested that the sting of defeat – as well as the run-ins with Australian tennis supporters – will work in his favor in the long run.

"I think he will [play Grand Slam events in future]," Nadal told 9News. "Of course, it's tough after a match like this.

"I had the huge support of the crowd and it was tough for Daniil and I felt sorry for him – losing a match like this and having the crowd supporting... crazy, [they were] on my side yesterday. 

"It just takes a bit of time but he is a great champion. He is a great person too. We know each other well in the locker room. He's a really nice guy and I really believe and hope that he will have this amazing feeling in the future.

"He's going to be a great champion and the people are going to understand how good he is and are going to understand a little bit better his personality, and I am sure that he is going to have the crowd supporting him soon."

Asked if he will return to defend his crown next year – presumably against a battle-worn Medvedev and a returning Novak Djokovic – Nadal said that he will do everything in his power to return so long as his body allows it.

"I hope," he said of returning in 2023. "Life changes quick. A couple of months ago, I even don't know if I will be able to be here this year.

These two, three weeks have been amazing positive energy to keep going. The passion stays there and I want to keep going."

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