Daniil Medvedev lashed out at a presumed heckler during his opening match of the 2023 Australian Open.
The Russian tennis pro opened this year’s tournament Monday with a first-round match against American Marcos Giron at Rod Laver Arena. But as Medvedev was about to finish the match, he turned around to a spectator and yelled for them to “f–k off.”
The crowd audibly gasped.
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Former British No.1 Tim Henman said it was a “very strange time” for Medvedev to be reacting in that fashion.
“It was a very good performance but a really strange ending with the last two points with his reaction and swearing at someone in the audience,” he said.
“Maybe a bit of afterthought from last year.”
Medvedev, the No. 7 seed in the tournament, had won the first two sets, 6-0, 6-1. The incident came during the final game of the third set when he was up 5-2.
Medvedev was hit with a code violation by the chair umpire and the 26-year-old athlete shook his head in response.
This is not the first time Medvedev has had issues with fans at the Australian Open. Last year, he complained to the chair umpire that he was being heckled by “empty-brain…idiots.”
“That sound. It’s disappointing. It’s disrespectful. I’m not sure after 30 years I’m going to want to play tennis,” he said, referring to fans hissing him.
At the time, Medvedev believed the fans’ jeering might be attributable to his Russian nationality.
“I think nationality plays a key,” he said. “I can definitely see when you [are] playing somebody from the other country, they would go for them and not for [the] Russian… or something like this. I feel there is a lot more buzz about tennis in Russia right now. Hopefully, we’ll try to get more people to go for us.”
Medvedev will face Australia’s John Millman in the second round on Wednesday
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been published with permission.