Daniil Medvedev defends underarm serve on match point against Tsitsipas, hits out at RG organizers over scheduling

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev
Rudra Biswas

Second seed Daniil Medvedev's campaign in Paris came to an end on Tuesday at the hands of rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.

In the aftermath of his defeat, Medvedev spoke about a variety of topics, including his controversial underarm serve on match point and the Roland Garros organizers' decision to stage the match in the night session when fans were barred from the stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniil Medvedev was taken apart from the baseline by Tsitsipas during their last-eight encounter. The Russian found himself two sets to love down and facing match point at 5-6 in the third set.

Medvedev devised one last effort to stay in the match, producing an underarm serve to try and surprise the Greek, who was standing well behind the baseline.

Medvedev's sneaky tactic failed as Tsitsipas was able to reach the serve and hit a sublime backhand past the Russian to complete a straight-sets win.

During his post-match press conference, Daniil Medvedev disclosed that he had thought about serving underarm at different points of the match but couldn't find an opportune moment.

Medvedev said he practices the underarm serve from time to time and insisted that it's a good tactic to catch opponents off guard.

"I was thinking about it during the whole match, like that maybe in the important point I could do it because my opinion that he was quite far back in the court, so that can always work," Daniil Medvedev said. "But I didn't see the opportunity before... and this one I felt that he was kind of on top of me, so I thought it's going to be a good choice to bring him surprise."
"I sometimes do it on practice. Usually guys are a bit surprised. They are coming to the low ball to slice, so that's why I went to the net..."

The Russian admitted the tactic backfired but refused to label it a "mistake".

"It didn't work out at all," Medvedev said. "He had an easy ball to finish. He made it. But again, as I say, it was tactical, and I won't say it was a mistake. It was something that I dared to do and just maybe next time I won't do it knowing that he's ready."

"Roland Garros preferred Amazon to people" - Daniil Medvedev on playing in an empty stadium

Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Daniil Medvedev after their quarterfinal match at Roland Garros
Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Daniil Medvedev after their quarterfinal match at Roland Garros

During the media interaction, Daniil Medvedev was also asked to give his thoughts on his quarterfinal against Tsitsipas being given the night-time slot. Night matches at this year's Roland Garros are being played without fans due to a 9 pm curfew amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon has exclusive broadcasting rights to this year's edition of the tournament, which means organizers are committed to putting the match of the day in the prime-time night-session slot.

Daniil Medvedev said the decision reminded him of the 'Drive to Survive' documentary series in which Formula One executives asked drivers to race at the Australian Grand Prix despite a COVID-19 outbreak.

"Wen the pandemic started, they were in Australia ready to race, and they asked Lewis Hamilton what he thinks about racing in the conditions the world was in (then), and he said, 'I don't know what we are doing here'. And so they asked him, 'Why do you think they are making you race?' He said, 'Cash is King.'"

Daniil Medvedev believes organizers were motivated by financial gains.

"It was the same here. Our match was definitely the match of the day, so Roland Garros preferred Amazon to people. It's easy as that," Medvedev said.

The Russian also questioned why there was a 15% cut in prize money this year despite the tournament bringing in money through gate receipts and the broadcast deal with Amazon.

"But actually, we have more people this year in Roland Garros, we have Amazon. I don't know if they had it last year, and we get 15% less prize money. So the question is, where is the Amazon money? So yeah, that's my answer to your question."
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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