Tennis Prose



Controversy! Johnson-Medvedev Grudge Match at Citi Open


Steve Johnson and Daniil Medvedev had a hot-tempered clash on Wednesday late night on grandstand at the Citi Open that erupted into a grudge match.

“You seldom see tennis players get really mad at each other,” a photographer who was at the match told me. “But Steve Johnson and Medvedev got into it.”

I left the Fitzgerald Tennis Center right after Tennys Sandgren defeated Nick Kyrgios and unfortunately missed all the drama between 27-year-old Johnson and the #NEXTGEN Russian, who played each other once before, last month in Eastbourne (won by the 21-year-old 63 26 63).

Here’s what happened. #34 ranked Johnson won the first set 63 and was up a break in the second set. Both players were resting on a changeover and the chair umpire called “time.” That’s when Medvedev, ATP 50, suddenly asked for a medical timeout. It took the physio three or four minutes to get to the court and a further delay ensued. Johnson was understandably irritated at Medvedev’s stall tactic which of course was designed to distract the American’s following service game.

And of course it did. Medvedev broke Johnson who then shouted across the net at the young Russian who is based in Nice, France since age seven, “Nice injury time out you piece of sh**!” – according to the photographer who was present.

Medvedev ended up winning the second set 64 to force a third set deep past midnight before a sparse crowd. There were no other matches being played.

Johnson and Medvedev battled all the way to a third set tiebreaker which was won by the Russian 7-1.

The tricky Medvedev is no stranger to controversy. Last year at the Savannah Challenger Medvedev was disqualified for his choice of words during a match against Donald Young. Leading 15-40 against Young’s serve, Medvedev sat down in his changeover chair after he thought he won the point. But the chair umpire called his shot into question, and later ruled that it had gone out after stepping down from her seat and checking the baseline where the ball landed.

Medvedev who was trailing in the first set 1-3, spoke directly to the chair umpire, who was African American, as she began climbing back up to her seat. Spectators laughed at Medvedev’s comments before he added: ‘I know that you are friends. I am sure about it.’

Keith Crossland, the tournament’s supervisor, interrupted the game to have a discussion regarding Medvedev’s actions, before deciding to give the match victory to Young, 4-1.

Also this year at Wimbledon, Medvedev was fined $14,500 for throwing coins at the chair umpire following his second-round loss against Ruben Bemelmans. Medvedev had asked for a new umpire down 5-2 in the fifth set but he had his request denied. When Medvedev lost the fifth set (6-3) and match, he suddenly grabbed his wallet, began taking out coins, and tossed them at the umpire.

This Medvedev character is something isn’t he? He just might be the second-most controversial player in tennis today, second of course to Nick Kyrgios. If Medvedev can sustain this rate of antics and shenanigans, he could take over the ATP No. 1 ranking in the Race To Be Most Controversial Man On Tour by the end of the year.

Creating drama and controversy actually seems to have no effect on Medvedev’s performance. In fact, it may ย help. After beating Johnson in Washington, Medvedev followed it up 24 hours later with a straight set beatdown of wildcard Grigor Dimitrov 64 62.

Medvedev is definitely one to keep an eye on now. I tried to do a Biofile with Daniil yesterday afternoon on the grounds. He walked by and I asked if he could do a short interview, then I suddenly realized he might be playing later in the day and he said Yes he was. I said maybe we can talk after the match and he smiled and added that he’s playing late again. I was struck by his choirboy politeness. But underneath that pleasant exterior is a cunningly clever, very interesting young man who has an above average innate sense of how to win tennis matches without any fear of bending or stretching the rules or expressing his sincere thoughts and opinions of injustice or foul play.

Daniil Medvedev is just the kind of character the sport desperately needs.

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  • Andrew Miller · August 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Scoop I'm stunned you haven't hit the international tournaments. I bet you'll enjoy it when you get to them.

  • Andrew Miller · August 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Catherine Muguruza smashed through all the criticism of her game with the Wimbledon title. She could run off and join the circus and return to the sport in Melbourne and probably get the same results. I doubt she feels much pressure, she likes the big stage. Seems like for her it matters how much she likes a tournament. She likes the French (storied past with winners like Aranxta Sanchez Vicario) and Wimbledon (same thing with Conchita Martinez). She probably wants a koala bear too down in Oz. I think she's like that, if it isn't a big venue she doesn't care much. I watched the highlights again of the Coco vs Muguruza match from the Australian, she wasn't THAT much off the pace, just that Coco was playing great. Muguruza was playing just slightly worse, and for whatever reason the lawns of Wimbledon were more to her liking. And she was more enthusiastic in Wimbledon.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Andrew, You are right. I like each and every one. They are all unique and different. On my list is Monte Carlo and Melbourne. Oh, I forgot, I did cover Hamlet Cup on Long Island in about 93 or 94 a long time ago. That was cool too. Actually saw Marc Rosset playing basketball there and Michael Chang do a perfect imitation I mean perfect of Jimmy Connors in an exo night match after Connors pulled out late because it was his birthday. Chang all the sudden in mid point against I can't remember started doing a Connors imitation DURING the point and it was hilarious and spot on. Very funny LOL moment by the usually dead serious Chang. So all tournaments are special and have different qualities.

  • Hartt · August 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Hartt writes:

    Rogers Cup is the only chance for these young Canadian players to get a WC, unless they happen to have an agent, like Abanda, who might get them one at another tourney. So I don't blame Tennis Canada for stocking the qualies. The players who get WCs for the MD usually deserve them.

  • Chazz · August 6, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Chazz writes:

    Seems like Madison Keys is finally over her wrist issues. Good for her.

  • Duke Carnoustie · August 7, 2017 at 12:56 am

    Duke Carnoustie writes:

    Why did Kokkinakis not get a SE into Montreal, anybody?

  • GameSetAndMath · August 7, 2017 at 2:03 am

    SE into ATP 1000 events can only be given to a player who reaches SF or above at an ATP 500 event or above in the previous week.
    Kokk played in a 250 event and so he is not eligible. If Kokk had played in DC and reached SF or better, he would have got SE into Montreal.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 2:21 am

    catherine writes:

    Sparse crowds for women's final in DC. WTA can't split the tournaments, ie with Stanford this week, no marquee names and expect to draw. I wonder why they bother with a women's event in Washington. Let's hope things perk up a bit in Toronto.

  • Hartt · August 7, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Hartt writes:

    I don't know how it works at other tourneys, but I will buy a very cheap ticket for the main stadium in order to get access to the grounds. So although my seat will be empty for the most part, I will be at the tourney, enjoying tennis at the other courts or watching practices. Judging from the crowds at the outer courts a lot of people do this. Of course by the time you get to the SF and F all the singles action is taking place on centre court. But earlier in the week sparse crowds in he main stadium are not indicative of the number of people at the tourney.

  • Hubert · August 7, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Hubert writes:

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 7:37 am

    catherine writes:

    Hartt – don't know if you were answering my comment, but I was only referring to the final in DC, which as far as I could see was sparsely attended, a pity because I'm sure the players try just as hard. But it must be disheartening. I suppose my point is that the women's circuit can't afford to be diluted – in a way I think of it as the men's tour cut in half. And when the tournaments are mixed, as at Citi, and the women's event is smaller, the gap in drawing power really shows up. Toronto is pretty stacked with top 10 so probably good crowds and some good matches. Seems from the draw, if I read right, that Simona's first match could be v Keys, which was actually the final last year I think ? Look forward to your reports ๐Ÿ™‚

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 7:51 am

    catherine writes:

    Scoop – Yes, Muguruza does have to be stimulated I suspect, which is why I suggested 1 GS per year, because that kind of performance usually only happens once unless you are something exceptional – so no USO but maybe AO in '18 ? (of course Garbine may turn out somerthing exceptional as she grows and develops) You know of course that koala bears aren't bears ? Agree with Hubert that this is a very good blog, tolerates disagreements : ) and it does load fast even on my computer.

  • Andrew Miller · August 7, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Tommy Paul's run was no fluke. I realized this this morning. We now have a legit USA next Gen future masters winner at minimum. Querrey with his performance and Isner both looking like second week us open. All of the above is just a thought. But it's pretty amazing Paul came out of the dungeon of tennis. It's like he's reclaiming a spot that Fritz and others were playing hot potato with. The kid has courage and cant fake it.

  • Andrew Miller · August 7, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Hartt I agree grounds pass is way to go.

  • Hartt · August 7, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Hartt writes:

    Andrew, you were asking about the Montreal venue. Just read an interesting stat about Coupe Rogers there. In 2011, the last time Fed played in Montreal, the tourney achieved the world attendance record for a one-week event on the ATP tour. The tournament director thinks, that if the weather cooperates, they could break their own record this week. He does not say so, but you have to think having Roger and Rafa playing is the key to that.

  • Hartt · August 7, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Hartt writes:

    Catherine, your post is what made me think about the empty seats in stadiums, but I understood your point about the women's tour being diluted by two tourneys in the same week and agree with you. We have often talked about so many empty seats in tennis tournaments and I wish there were a way to know if attendance on other courts is good, so the tourney as a whole is doing OK.

  • Hartt · August 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Hartt writes:

    Fed, in talking about Coupe Rogers this week said: "I hope we can make it a great experience for fans who show up and pay good money for their tickets." Roger understands his "job." I wish Kyrgios and Tomic would learn from his attitude, knowing he has a responsibility to the fans.

  • Hartt · August 7, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Hartt writes:

    In case you have not seen this news, an Italian newspaper has reported that Errani failed a drug test earlier in the year for Anastrozole, which can be used as a masking agent. She had pulled out of Rogers Cup and has scheduled a news conference for Wed. Apparently this was an out-of-competition test done in the first months of the year. If it was really so long ago, what happened to the supposed greater transparency when a player tests positive?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hartt; It's called, let's make a deal first before we go public.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 9:26 am

    catherine writes:

    Hartt – Imagine what would happen if a couple of actors, playing for example in a high priced show in the West End, went on stage and blew their lines and made joke of the whole production because they couldn't be bothered ? First, punters would request their money back. Second, actors would get the sack. For 'actors' substitute tennis pros of your choice.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hartt; Federer is the greatest ambassador this sport or any sport has ever had. Tomic and Kyrgios are a pair of underachieving slackers which is quite common in these days of big money pro sports.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

    catherine writes:

    I'm really shocked about Errani. Will be interested in the press conference. How many tournaments has she played since the positive result ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Andrew; Paul's run was overdue. It was a matter of time. He got a flat tire and had a slow stretch there for a while but we are finally seeing Paul's A level again. He could be the best of the lot.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Scoop Malinowski writes: Duke; Kokkinakis needs all the breaks he can get. He's playing very well, he's young, but his ranking is still way down because of the injury. He's a good kid too. I would guess it's a byproduct of just being a good person and good player who needs a favor and they gave him a good one. Hope he capitalizes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hartt; Good for TC for helping the all young Canadians. They are not gonna get much help in other countries with wildcards. There's plenty of them so good for them for getting their big shot.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 9:47 am

    catherine writes:

    Anastrazole is used for breast cancer but consensus seems to be that she wouldn't have been taking it for that. 'Accidental ingestion' ? Unbelievable stupidity if that it what it turns out to be.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 9:48 am

    catherine writes:

    Errani mnust have pulled out of Rogers Cup before the draw was made so she knew what was coming.

  • JG · August 7, 2017 at 10:10 am

    JG writes:

    If Tiafoe gets by his first round (which he should) he will play Kyrgios, which should be interesting to see if Kyrgios shows up after last week. You would think Tommy Paul's play recently would give extra motivation to his peers.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Anastrozale just sounds like a steroid. I guess all she needs is a 'therapeutic use exemption.' ๐Ÿ™‚ The TUE sure worked for a lot of other players and allowed them to use banned substances and PEDs.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    jg; Kyrgios is at the point that he could lose first round to Frank Dancevic or he could win the title. He could produce standing ovation tennis or he could get booed out of the stadium. Anything is possible with Nick Kyrgios.

  • Chazz · August 7, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Chazz writes:

    JG, Tiafoe needs to win his first match and also beat Kyrgios, even if it is half-effort Kyrgios. He needs those wins for confidence. I think Scoop is right about Paul, it was only a matter of time. If you look at his past, the talent has always been there.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 10:41 am

    catherine writes:'s extraordinary and fantastical prediction for Roger's Cup final in Toronto will interest Dan because it features A Player I Cannot Name v A Player I Can Just About Name. Unlikely to happen. About 2 billion to 1 I'd say.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

    catherine writes:

    Scoop – yes it crossed my mind that Errani could have claimed TUE but only on the basis I suppose of having breast cancer which obviously we hope she has not. But either you have it or you don't so she could be caught there. It's a more serious drug than Meldonium, because,as Hartt says, used as a masking agent among other things.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Right Chazz, I saw Paul qualify at US Open winning three matches. We did a Biofile after the second in the players lounge. I remember during it Alexander Zverev walked by and he gave Paul a fist bump as he was walking by, this was after the second quali win. Then Paul was up 3-0 on Seppi in the first round and had a break point for 4-0 but it all went wrong at that point. But still, excellent work by a teenager vs a strong veteran. How about Mmoh winning his second challenger in Lexington? He's now about 150 in the world. Mmoh really crept up the rankings very quietly. He had a wrist problem in April that forced him to withdraw from Sarasota (and another tourney) which let LL Kozlov into the main draw.

  • catherine · August 7, 2017 at 11:40 am

    catherine writes:

    Errani as banned until October because she accidentally ingested her mother's medication. So she misses US Open.

  • Andrew Miller · August 7, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Scoop, Paul and Eubanks, even if just for one tournament, made USA men's tennis future bright again. It doesn't take much I guess, I see some courageous tennis and I say did you see that? Courageous tennis! Fierce ball striking! Granted, Sock made the semifinals doing that last week. I think his complaint about the court, which Ben Roth_ pointed out as one of fastest on tour, strike a low note for the usually amusing happy Sock. He became Sock the Put a Sock in it Sock. Is Paul better than his higher ranked usa men's peers? Some of them for sure. Not Isner and not Querrey. And maybe not Harrison, Johnson, or DY yet. But he sure looks like he's playing as well as any of his USA next Gen peers. We stuck a fork in him. And Paul took the fork out and stuck it in the hype of some of his peers.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Interesting that both Errani and Sharapova, the 2012 Roland Garros finalists, have now been implicated by PED use.

  • Andrew Miller · August 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Andrew Miller writes:

    Errani's use disappointing

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