“Court Is Damaged”: Daniil Medvedev Complains at Mutua Madrid Open 2021 While Bagging His First Clay-Court Win in 739 Days

Published 05/05/2021, 7:33 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 5, 2021 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev celebrates winning his round of 32 match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina REUTERS/Sergio Perez

World No.3 and second seed at Mutua Madrid Open 2021, Daniil Medvedev edged through against home favorite Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round. This was Medvedev’s first clay-court victory in two years as the scorecard read, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.


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Daniil Medvedev’s meltdown in the first set of his Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Daniil Medvedev reacts during his round of 32 match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Medvedev continued his horrid run on the clay surface in the first set as well. The Russian was misjudging the bounce and pace in almost every rally, as Fokina was troubling Medvedev with his forehand. At the start of the match, the Spaniard tried different things from drop shots to an underarm serve as well.


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As Fokina was trying to find his footing, Medvedev was the first to break and lead 3-2. From here, Medvedev had a meltdown. On multiple occasions, he tried to come to the net but failed miserably. In this process, Fokina came back into the set and ultimately led 5-4.

To save the opening set, Medvedev was serving at 5-4, but multiple errors gave Fokina the set and Medvedev imploded. The Russian swiped the surface multiple times upon losing the set and the umpire then told him not to damage the court.

As he moved to his seat, he admitted his hatred for the surface and called it bad and damaged. Nevertheless, Fokina took the opening set- 6-4.

“Don’t damage the clay,” said the chair umpire.

“But it’s already damaged, it’s clay,” Medvedev replied.


Daniil Medvedev hangs on to win the second set

It was clear Medvedev’s movement was well short of the required standard on the clay surface. With that, his backhand was even worse. But the second set showed improvement in his movement, but his backhand was still sore. Despite being behind on confidence and form, Medvedev was the first to break in the second set.

He led until 3-2 and unfortunately he couldn’t hold on to the advantage. Overflowed with negative thoughts from the first set, Medvedev was broken and the second set was leveled at 3-3. But as Medvedev got hold of his nerves, he was able to break back and take a 5-3 lead.

Daniil Medvedev in action during his round of 32 match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Medvedev saw his first set point as Fokina’s serve was under pressure. But the Spaniard saved it. Now serving at 5-4, Medvedev finally converted his third set point to level the match- 6-4.

Medvedev’s dominance in the third set

In the third set, Medvedev showed glimpses of brilliance. In the first game itself, Medvedev saw two consecutive breakpoints. But he missed it courtesy of an awful miss. As Medvedev was not clinical, Fokina managed to hold his serve.


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Now that Fokina was put on the back foot, he gave Medvedev a lot of chances to take the break. In Fokina’s first two service games, Medvedev had four breakpoints and on his last attempt, he broke the Spaniard to lead 2-1. The Russian wasn’t being made to work for his points, as Fokina was overwhelmed by Medvedev’s turn around.


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It looked like Medvedev finally got a hang of the surface, and thus his strokes were too hot to handle. Medvedev quickly soared to a 5-1 lead. Fokina stayed in the match as he won his service game and asked Medvedev to close the match. The Russian quickly replied and completed his turn around to march forward in Madrid.


Bhavishya Mittal

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Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.