Commentary: Villain Daniil Medvedev right about Australian Open tennis fans having ’empty brains’



There is no doubt Daniil Medvedev has some undesirable qualities while he is competing on the tennis court.

There was the way he belittled the chair umpire during his semifinal match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, his chastising of the ball kids for not following the process he wanted and the sarcastic clapping of the crowd when it cheered points for Rafael Nadal against him.

The Russian world No. 2 was fined $12,000 for his code violations throughout the tournament, and while his behavior came in the heat of life-changing sporting moments, you still wouldn’t see the likes of Nadal, Roger Federer or Ash Barty acting the same in similar circumstances.

MORE: How Nadal rallied past Medvedev for record 21st Grand Slam title

However, there is one thing that Medvedev was spot on about during one of his rants to chair umpire John Blom during his Australian Open final defeat to Nadal.

After a minority of fans repeatedly shouted out during Medvedev’s first and second serve, he confronted the official during the change of ends.

“They are idiots. No brains, empty brains. Probably their life must be very bad,” Medvedev said.

And he was spot on.

There is always going to be the odd idiot in a crowd of thousands of people at sporting events, but crowd issues happened too often at this year’s Australian Open.

The warning signs were there early in the tournament. This author wrote a piece about how sporting crowd atmospheres should be lauded, after criticism of supporters during Nick Kyrgios’ first-round win against Liam Broady.

MORE: How Serena Williams helped resurrect Ash Barty’s tennis career

But there is a difference between creating an atmosphere at a tennis match, or blatantly disrupting the match by shouting as players are serving or preparing to.

Medvedev earned his villain tag with his petulant behavior, but it still must have been hard for him to be subjected to the derision he copped during his Australian Open, as evidenced by his post-final admission.

“I’m just talking about [a] few moments where the kid (Medvedev himself) stopped dreaming, and today was one of them. I’m not going to really tell why,” the 25-year-old said.

“I’m just going to give one small example.

“Before Rafa serves even in the fifth set, there would be somebody, and I would even be surprised, like one guy screaming, ‘C’mon, Daniil.’ A thousand people would be like, ‘Tsss, tsss, tsss.’ That sound.

“Before my serve, I didn’t hear it. It’s disappointing. It’s disrespectful, it’s disappointing. I’m not sure after 30 years I’m going to want to play tennis.

“The kid that was dreaming is not in me anymore after today. It will be tougher to continue tennis when it’s like this.”

But it wasn’t only Medvedev who had issues with Australian Open crowds. Women’s finalist Danielle Collins expressed her dismay during the second set as rude supporters made noise during crucial points.

MORE: Who is Danielle Collins?

There was an incident in the men’s doubles final featuring Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, where a fan had to be ejected for screaming out mid-serve.

A fan entered the playing court and had to be removed during the Nadal-Medvedev final, and another fan was ejected for constantly making noise during Nadal’s second-round match.

There is always going to be an incident or two involving the crowds at sporting events of this magnitude, but there were a just a few too many at the Australian Open this year.

If the trend continues, Australian sporting fans are going to be tagged as ’empty brain’ supporters, just as Medvedev said.





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