Daniil Medvedev backed over on-court outburst as players feeling ‘caged’

Casper Ruud has backed Daniil Medvedev after the world No 3 slammed the Madrid Open courts for giving him a “disadvantage”. Medvedev claimed he didn’t have enough room to return on the second-biggest show court during his defeat to Aslan Karatsev last week. And Ruud agreed with his claims, saying it felt like they were “in a cage” when returning on smaller courts.

Medvedev is getting ready to continue his clay season in Rome after reaching the quarter-final in Monte Carlo and the last-16 in Madrid. The 27-year-old famously dislikes the surface but has been feeling good on the dirt recently, and instead blamed the court size for his 7-6(1) 6-4 loss to countryman Karatsev at the recent Madrid Open.

The 19-time title winner called the supervisor to air his grievances about the Arantxa Sanchez Stadium compared to the main Manolo Santana Stadium court, saying: “Yesterday when I returned, I can choose my position. Why do I have this disadvantage if I’m No 2 [seed] playing the best category [event] on the ATP Tour, on the second court of the tournament. Is this normal?”

He went on to lose the match and is now hoping to do better at the Italian Open but one of his colleagues has supported his argument. Ruud discussed the woes of being a player who uses a deep return position, saying: “Just speaking my honesty here, you look at maybe myself or a player like Daniil Medvedev, for example, and last week in Madrid when we played, centre court is obviously very big in Madrid, for example, but Court No 2, if you look at where me and Daniil is returning, we’re very close to the line umpire. It can be a little tricky sometimes.”

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While the two-time Grand Slam finalist thought the responsibility was on them for choosing to return from far back, he said they felt caged on the smaller clay courts. “You feel like you can’t hit your ball when you have the line umpire and all these things like just half a metre behind you. You feel sort of like a little in a cage kind of way,” he added.

“Again, it’s sort of our own fault because we choose to stay that far back. I think both of us feel when we stay back or when I stay back, I win more points than when I am staying in. That’s why we do it. Some players like to stay no matter what.”

Medvedev also addressed the match again ahead of his Rome Masters campaign, maintaining that the court size disadvantaged him even though he knew it couldn’t change. “The thing is when I talk to my coach after the match to try to see what I could have done better, how was the match, I thought it was really good match, where Aslan played good, which was impressive. The only thing we agreed on my coach was disappointing, I don’t know how the match would go if I can be further on return,” he explained.

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“From one point of view I understand probably all the tournaments in the world cannot make all the match courts as big as I want or some other players want. At the same time it’s a disadvantage. Playing Karatsev on the second court, I had a disadvantage. Didn’t allow me to play my 100 per cent  tennis, even if I was probably at 98 per cent. That’s disappointing because it was same, practice courts are always smaller.”

Medvedev is now hoping to do better at the Italian Open, where he admitted he thought he had been playing really well on the clay. But the world No 3 has never won a match in Rome, and is making that his first goal before looking ahead to the rest of the tournament.

“Only two days here in Rome. Honestly I feel great. It doesn’t matter anything to me, honest, before the tournament. When the tournament starts, it’s always a new story,” he said. “But these two days I was playing really good clay tennis. Looking forward to the tournament because I think I never won a match. So, yeah, that’s the first goal.”

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