Daniil Medvedev is one of the most outspoken tennis players on the circuit, who has never been afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. And while that may lead to controversies every now and then, it also helps make him feel genuine and full of personality.
The 2021 season has been the most successful of Medvedev's career so far. He will be finishing the year as the No. 2 ranked player in the world, with the US Open title and the record for most wins in the calendar year to his name.
But none of that has distracted the Russian from dropping the occasional truth-bomb and being his usual crazy self. On that note, here are the top five quotes from Daniil Medvedev during the 2021 ATP season:
#5 "Ref! Ref! Where's the ref at? You should fine her!"
Most tennis players wouldn't openly drag a chair umpire, but Daniil Medvedev is not like most tennis players. To be fair though, in this particular instance he was not even remotely in the wrong, and had every right to question the official.
En route to beating Alexander Bublik at the 2021 Canadian Open 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, Daniil Medvedev was deducted a point for 'hindrance'. Leading 2-0 in the third set, the Russian yelled out "sorry" after Bublik managed to surprisingly return a ball that was hit straight to his body.
The ball was in Medvedev's court when he hit it and Bublik was on the ground with no chance of retrieving it. Bublik was even confused as to why he was being awarded the point when Medvedev should have gotten it, leading to this hilarious exchange.
"Can you imagine? Because I had the ball to hit! You didn't have any ball to hit. Can you imagine how stupid this call is," Medvedev said to Bublik.
"Ref! Ref! Where's the ref at? You should fine her," he continued.
#4 "I think it is actually easier to enjoy life when you have no brain"
If you think this is coming straight out of a Russian philosopher who has had enough of humanity...you'd be partially right. Except that it involves a tennis player, the same referee as in the previous instance and an openly hostile French crowd.
The Paris Masters saw Daniil Medvedev take on Hugo Gaston in the quarterfinals. Gaston is a French local and upcoming wonder-kid who had beaten Pablo Carreno Busta and Carlos Alcaraz on the way to the last eight. No prizes for guessing whom the crowd was behind.
In this instance, the crowd booed Medvedev even as he was serving, and in general they did their best to try and psych him out. Medvedev did end up winning in straight sets, but not before going on a rant to the match referee during the break.
"I think it's actually easier to enjoy life when you have, when you have no brain," the Russian was heard saying. "Because then you don't think, you just scream. No matter if the guy is serving or not, you just scream. And you enjoy life. I wonder what it is. I, I want to see how it is inside because I have no idea."
#3 "Love clay"
Honestly, this entire list could be filled with Daniil Medvedev's quotes about how much he hates clay.
There's the "Gerry, please default me; it could get dangerous for everybody", the "I don't want to play here on this surface" and the "It's already bad surface! I cannot do damage to the bad surface!" to choose from.
That is why it was particularly funny when Medvedev wrote "love clay" on the camera after winning a match at the 2021 Madrid Open, in an ironic, self-deprecating manner.
Despite his hatred for the surface, Medvedev still wants to get better at playing on clay and still makes concerted efforts to improve. That is perhaps the one thing that makes him such a champion player.
"Yeah, about clay, it's everything, actually, because for some players, and I know it because they also say it, you know, for some players hard courts can be tough in terms of injuries, in terms of body, so for me it's clay," Medvedev was quoted as saying earlier this year.
#2 "Only legends will understand, but my celebration was L2 + Left"
Yet another hostile crowd, and yet another win for Daniil Medvedev, but the odds were certainly against him. Beating Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam final is one thing. But beating the Serb to deny him a virtually impossible Calendar Slam in front of a booing crowd?
That is the stuff of legends.
And yet Medvedev somehow still managed to top that during his post-match victory speech. The Russian revealed that his reaction after winning match point was a celebration move from FIFA, and that only the pros of the game would get it.
There is no better way to announce the arrival of the Next Gen than this.
#1 "For me, you are the greatest tennis player in the history"
If you want an example of how quickly Daniil Medvedev can swing from the absurd to the sweetest, this is it.
After defeating Djokovic to bag the 2021 US Open, Medvedev delivered a heartfelt victory speech wherein he apologised to the Serb for being the one to stop him from achieving the feat of a lifetime:
"First of all I want to say sorry for you fans and Novak. We all know what he was going for today," Medvedev said during the trophy ceremony. "I've never said this anybody, but I will say it right now. For me, you are the greatest tennis player in history."
Medvedev has openly claimed in other interviews that he thinks Djokovic is not treated as fondly as Federer or Nadal despite winning as much as them. But to use the biggest night of his career to tell the world where he stands on the debate definitely took a lot of heart and courage.