John McEnroe had no problems with Daniil Medvedev’s verbal volley at umpire Jaume Campistol during his Australian Open semi-final win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
With the second set swinging in Tsitsipas’ favour, No. 1 seed Medvedev took his frustrations out on the umpire - forcefully telling him to step in amid suggestions his opponent’s coach and father was providing tactical advice.
Medvedev continued his attack at the end the second set, accusing Campistol of being a “small cat.”
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The Russian left the court and seemingly cooled down, as he regrouped to run out a 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 winner - after which he mouthed "I'm sorry" to the chair official.
While his play for much of the contest should have been the talking point, it was his attacking of the official which had tongues wagging.
Eurosport pundit Justine Henin suggested Medvedev had crossed a line and that a penalty should be considered, but McEnroe - no stranger to berating officials during his playing days - disagreed.
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"You're probably asking the wrong person, if you're asking me if the referee should default a player,” McEnroe said. “I personally love to see emotions.
“If they trash talk a little bit, like we used to in the past, especially like me and [Jimmy] Connors, or me and [Ivan] Lendl, I think it makes it more interesting. Personally, I like it.”
McEnroe has said that he used to pick arguments with officials to fire himself up; the American felt Medvedev lost focus for a period.
“He was out of mind, no question,” McEnroe said, “He apologised.
Speaking from my own experience, when you're coming on the court and it's that hot, it's pretty tough sometimes to always keep your composure.
“All in all, I think he's done a great job turning from the bad guy at the US Open (2019) into a very intriguing and interesting player.”
Of the crop of players coming up behind Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Medvedev excites McEnroe the most.
“An incredible player,” McEnroe said. “He's my favourite player to watch right now.
“The way he plays, it's so different, it's awesome.”
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McEnroe was impressed with how Campistol handled the occasion.
“Talking about the umpire, to me, when you don't mention their name, they've done a good job, basically,” McEnroe said. “They're in a situation where the linesmen are not even there anymore. So the role now is just keep things going. And how many times can you leave the courts, how many times can you change your clothes, how many doctors can you call? It's part of the game.
“Maybe Medvedev went overboard, but I don't think he should have been defaulted, if you're asking me. I like to see a guy care so much on the court."
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