“It was your energy that made me win. Know it all when you go to bed: if I won, it’s thanks to you! The more you whistle me, the more energy you give me for the next five games! In September 2019 during the US Open, Daniil Medvedev made the show on the courts but also outside. Taken in dislike by the New York public, which tended to encourage its opponents, the Russian had not lacked repartee to show that he was not going to let it go. Beyond the interviews without language of wood, he had not hesitated to reply with a finger of honor. Two years later, the atmosphere had changed between the Muscovite and the spectators. And if he deprived Novak Djokovic of a fabulous grand slam in 2021, the current world number 2 ended up earning the respect he was looking for so much.

The New York episode has necessarily marked the spirits. Medvedev likes to play with the public, even if he had to water down his wine with his dimension change. “Attitude is the only thing that’s not calculated about me, it’s almost impossible to control your emotions. For the rest, there is almost nothing spontaneous in my career…”, he confided to World in 2019. First player since Andy Roddick, outside the Big Four (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray), to become number a world, the Russian was able to count on his performance and his talent to turn the whistles into applause. And while the Zverevs, Tsitsipas and company of his generation are still unable to triumph in grand slams, the lanky right-hander has been able to catch the right wagon.

How can you officiate a grand slam half when you’re so bad? Look at me when I talk to you! Daniil Medvedev at the referee, in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January 2022

However, the natural has come back at a gallop recently. His bloodshed at the last Australian Open did not fail to make people talk. In the semi-final against Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev had simply cracked by attacking the referee in a virulent way, contesting a warning when he believed that the Greek was speaking directly to his clan. “How can you referee a grand slam half when you’re so bad?” Look at me when I talk to you! “In particular launched the impulsive Russian, who ended up beating his opponent in four sets. He is now accompanied by a daily mental trainer to avoid this type of overflow.

Daniil Medvedev then suffered the wrath of the Rod Laver Arena, entirely won over to the cause of Rafael Nadal in the final. Every point won by the Spaniard gave way to fury as the Muscovite’s winning shots were timidly applauded. “Before Rafa served in the fifth set, if there was one person who was shouting ‘Come on Daniil’, then a thousand others were going ‘Tsssss!’ It’s disappointing and disrespectful. I’m not sure I’ll want to play tennis when I’m 30. The kid who dreamed in me no longer exists today. It will be harder to continue tennis in these conditions […]. Every time I stepped onto the court in these big matches, I didn’t see many people who wanted me to win, “confided the disillusioned Russian after his defeat in five sets. A beginning of spleen for the one who is only 26 years old.

Was he programmed to become number one in the world? Last February, his trainer Gilles Cervara told L’Équipe that this change in size was an uncertainty to be digested. “It’s something we had never talked about, except, of course, at the concrete approach of the goal. I think he can settle in this place because he has acquired the dimension he deserves. Now he has to take it. To achieve this status, Medvedev needs to become good on all surfaces. If he is not a lover of clay, he still reached the quarter-finals last year at Roland-Garros, an unprecedented performance for him who had never passed the first round until then. .

We love you too @DaniilMedwed �� Glad to see you a little closer

As for the French public, the atmosphere is much warmer. It must be said that between France and the Russian, the story began in 2014 when he joined Cannes to train at the Jean-René Lisnard Academy. If tricolor tennis no longer manages to come out of the champions, it still serves as a launching pad for future ATP leaders. For six years, Medvedev will live and train on the Côte d’Azur, while learning French. In tournaments, whether at Roland-Garros or the Paris-Bercy Masters, he is very often acclaimed. During the last final of the Paris Masters, against Djokovic, he received a welcome equivalent to that of the Serb, proof that the grass can be greener elsewhere.

But the news off the courts is catching up with Medvedev and his compatriots. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian players are no longer wanted in some tournaments including Wimbledon, which starts in a month. “We considered a wide variety of factors. After careful consideration, we have come to two firm conclusions. Firstly, if we were to accept registrations (from Russian and Belarusian players), we would risk their success or their participation being used for the benefit of the Russian regime’s propaganda, which we could not accept,” said Ian Hewitt, the boss of the All England Club.