Aslan Karatsev has said his fellow countryman Daniil Medvedev should not have complained about fans supporting Rafael Nadal during their Australian Open final.
The majority of the fans on Rod Laver Arena were supporting Nadal in his bid for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title – and Medvedev expressed frustration afterwards at some of the interruptions from the crowd.
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However, Karatsev says Medvedev should take it on the chin and accept Nadal is always going to be a crowd favourite wherever he plays.
“I think for me it’s pretty normal,” said Karatsev ahead of playing in Pune this week.
“Nadal has just made his comeback and didn’t play for almost half a year, of course fans will support him. He’s coming back from injury and the same thing happens if you play against Roger [Federer].
“So yeah I know it can be disturbing when fans try to distract you while serving and all, but I think sooner or later Daniil will realise that and move on.
“The same thing happened with me but you cannot do anything like telling the fans ‘come on you support me’, that would not make sense.”
Karatsev also told Wion Sports: "Of course fans love the Big Three. I played against Andy Murray in Sydney, all the crowd support was with him. They have done a lot for our sport so it is obvious."
What did Medvedev say?
While Medvedev was gracious in defeat, he was clearly frustrated with the crowd on Rod Laver Arena.
He accused fans of anti-Russian bias and said in the future he is only going to play for himself, his family and those who support him in Russia.
"If there is a tournament on hard courts in Moscow before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I'm going to go there even if I miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever,” he said to open his press conference.
"The kid's stopped dreaming, the kid's going to play for himself, and that's it, that's my story, thanks for listening guys."
Medvedev later confirmed that it was the partisan crowd that had upset him.
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“Before Rafa serves even in the fifth set, there would be somebody, and I would even be surprised, like one guy screaming, 'C'mon, Daniil'. A thousand people would be like, 'Tsss, tsss, tsss'. That sound. Before my serve, I didn't hear it.
“It's disappointing. It's disrespectful, it's disappointing. I'm not sure after 30 years I'm going to want to play tennis.
"It depends what people around me are going to tell me, but the kid that truly was dreaming is not any more in me after today. It will be tougher to continue tennis when it's like this.
"Every time I stepped on the court in these big matches, I really didn't see much people who wanted me to win. It's cumulative, but today was like the top of the mountain.
"I think nationality plays a key. 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."
Does Medvedev have a point?
It seems like Medvedev is fighting a losing battle.
He is not an unpopular player and has won over supporters with some of his humorous interviews and post-match antics over the last few years.
But it’s a different story when he is facing Nadal, or Roger Federer – and that’s not going to change, however much he complains about it.
Nadal and Federer aren’t going to be around for too much longer and while they are still playing fans are always going to want to see them win. When they are gone then Medvedev might enjoy more support.
“He is a great champion,” said Nadal after the final. “He will enjoy the crowd in his favour in the future, I don’t have any doubt.”
For now Medvedev is probably better off saving his breath and focusing on how to beat Nadal next time they meet.
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