After his knockout round at the ATP tournament in Monte Carlo, tennis Olympic champion Alexander Zverev insulted his Russian opponent Daniil Medvedev as “one of the most unfair players in the world”. “I take fairness and sportsmanship very, very seriously. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any of that,” said Zverev after the bitter 6: 3, 5: 7, 6: 7 (7: 9) defeat after more than three hours at Sky.
On Thursday evening, in front of his girlfriend Sophia Thomalla, Zverev served twice to win the match: 5: 4 in the second and third sets. But Medvedev fended off two match points in the decisive tie-break and advanced to the quarter-finals. From the point of view of the 25-year-old from Hamburg, also with partly unfair means: When the score was 5: 4 for Zverev in the second set, the Russian removed the net post when going to his bench and put it on the pitch, he was not warned for it.
“He tries to do everything when he’s behind. I’m extremely disappointed about that as an athlete,” said Zverev, also in relation to this scene. At 4: 3 in the third set for Zverev, the Russian took a toilet break “where there are none anymore. There are a thousand situations where he has the feeling that I’ve started to play better and where he tries to do something every time,” said Zverev, who also considered the former US Open winner Medvedev to be one of the best players designated to the world.
At the same time he practiced self-criticism. “Of course you can argue that I shouldn’t let that distract me. That’s also completely my fault, that was really bad of me today. But still, I think fairness in sport should always be a part of it.”
Both would have an “incredible rivalry” – similar to former world number ones Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. “But one of the reasons Roger and Rafa were so popular and the rivalry was appreciated all over the world was because they were always fair to each other. Unfortunately, you can’t say that about him and that’s a real shame for me as an athlete,” said Zverev after the eighth defeat in the 14th comparison.
Zverev, who was injured for a long time, also drew positive things from his first real endurance test on sand: “It was a great match. But of course I want to start winning matches like that again.”