Sports

Medvedev Snubs Politics, Focuses On Australia Open

Daniil Medvedev on Sunday admitted he would rather be playing at the mixed teams United Cup than the Adelaide International, but the Russian intends to make the most of the season-opening event.

The Monte Carlo-based world number seven and his compatriots are unable to compete in the ATP-WTA United Cup in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Medvedev said it was disappointing, but there was nothing he could do.

“I would definitely prefer to play the United Cup,” said the Adelaide third seed behind Novak Djokovic and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

“We would definitely be good favourites. But it is what it is, and I’m happy to be here in Adelaide playing in this tournament.

“I completely understand why we are not playing Davis Cup or United Cup and team competitions where we would represent our country.

“Hopefully, I can play the individual events. I play what I can play, so here I can play Adelaide, and I’m really happy about it. I want to show my best tennis.”

Medvedev, a finalist at the last two Australian Opens, will start against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

World crises aside, the former world number one said he was dealing with the usual start-of-year jitters.

“I feel like everybody is a little bit nervous, and that’s normal. This feeling of the first tournament of the year is really special,” he said.

“I like playing in Australia, so really looking forward to it”

Since defeating Djokovic for the 2021 US Open title, Medvedev has been beaten three times by the Serb, who is back in Australia after being deported a year ago for trying to enter without a Covid vaccination exemption.

With the rules now relaxed, the 35-year-old is competing in Adelaide and is free to pursue a possible 10th title at Melbourne Park this month.

“I’m motivated to be in the (Adelaide) semis — and if it’s Novak there, it’s great,” Medvedev said.

“If it’s somebody else who beats him, I don’t care much. I just want to be in the semi-finals to start, and I don’t care who I play.”

Medvedev, the winner of two titles last season, half-heartedly endorsed the late United Cup pullout of Nick Kyrgios, with the controversial Australian citing an injury

“You never know if he’s really injured,” Medvedev said.

“He’s had some problems with his body in the past, so if he wants to preserve his body before the Australian Open, that’s completely normal.

“If I was (playing) the United Cup and I got injured before the tournament, I would withdraw.”

AFP

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