Danill Medvedev encourages U.S. Open fans to boo

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NEW YORK — Daniil Medvedev extended his arms toward the crowd, then motioned for the fans to keep raining down the boos.

In New York, they don’t wait to be asked.

The crowd had been letting him have it since early in his third-round matchup with Feliciano Lopez on Friday night, and the fans who were still there after Medvedev completed the last match of the day at the U.S. Open with a 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory let loose with whatever voices they still had.

In a post-match interview that seemed better suited for WrestleMania than the U.S. Open, Medvedev told fans that he’d won because of their energy.

“I want all of you to know when you sleep tonight, I won because of you,” Medvedev said.

As the jeers grew louder – and one fan was seen extending his middle finger – the No. 5 seed added: “The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys.”

Medvedev was more contrite later in a brief interview with reporters, adding that he had spoken to Lopez and said his opponent understood.

The trouble started in the first set, when a frustrated Medvedev snatched the towel from a ballperson and was given a code violation by umpire Damien Dumusois. Medvedev then threw his racket in the direction of Dumusois, barked something at him and later flashed his middle finger next to his forehead as he walked past the umpire’s chair.

“I was in the heat of the moment. Started losing the momentum, so I mean, was tough,” Medvedev said. “Was tough and I don’t really remember. I mean, I paid for it the whole match after, because as you saw it wasn’t easy. So I’m just happy to win.”

The Russian came into the final Grand Slam of the year as perhaps the hottest player on tour, winning the Western & Southern Open in the last of three straight tournaments in which he reached the final. He’ll be favored to reach the quarterfinals, as his next match is against 118th-ranked qualifier Dominik Koepfer.

He was asked if he’s worried about playing that match and the ones that follow at the U.S. Open with the crowd against him.

“Tough question to answer,” he said, “because what I can say is that I’m working on myself and hopefully I will be better next time.”

Tennis star Kyrgios to fight charge on mental health grounds

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CANBERRA, Australia – Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios will apply to have an assault charge dismissed on mental health grounds, his lawyer told an Australian court on Tuesday.

Lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith appeared on behalf of Kyrgios in a court in the tennis star’s hometown of Canberra and asked for an adjournment so forensic mental health reports could be prepared.

Magistrate Glenn Theakston adjourned the case until Feb. 3, when Kyrgios’ lawyers are expected to apply to have the charge dismissed under a section of the local crimes law.

The 27-year-old Australian tennis star will appear in court in person on that date for the first time since he was charged by police by summons in July.

The law gives magistrates the power to dismiss a charge if they are satisfied an accused person is mentally impaired, and dealing with an allegation in that way would benefit the community and the defendant.

The common assault charge, which has a potential maximum sentence of two years in prison, relates to an incident in January 2021 that was reported to local police last December.

The charge reportedly relates to an incident involving his former girlfriend.

Kukulies-Smith told the court his client’s mental health history since 2015 made the application appropriate, citing a number of public statements made by Kyrgios.

In February, Kyrgios opened up about his performance at the 2019 Australian Open, saying what appeared to be a positive time in his life had been “one of my darkest periods.”

“I was lonely, depressed, negative, abusing alcohol, drugs, pushed away family and friends,” he wrote on Instagram. “I felt as if I couldn’t talk or trust anyone. This was a result of not opening up and refusing to lean on my loved ones and simply just push myself little by little to be positive.”

Kyrgios made further references to his mental health struggles during his runs to the final at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

After ending Daniil Medvedev’s U.S. Open title defense last month to reach the quarterfinals, Kyrgios expressed pride at lifting himself out of “some really tough situations, mentally” and “some really scary places” off the court.

Theakston questioned whether Kyrgios would need to appear in court for the February hearing, but Kukulies-Smith said his client wanted to attend.

Kyrgios was scheduled to play at the Japan Open later Tuesday against Tseng Chun-hsin of Taiwan.

Speaking in Tokyo before his matter returned to court, Kyrgios said it was “not difficult at all” to focus on tennis despite the pending charge.

“There’s only so much I can control and I’m taking all the steps and dealing with that off the court,” he told reporters. “I can only do what I can and I’m here in Tokyo and just trying to play some good tennis, continue that momentum and just try to do my job.”

Wimbledon champ Rybakova beats Keys in Ostrava opener

Agel Open Ostrava - Day One
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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakova came from a set down to defeat Madison Keys 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the Agel Open on Monday.

Rybakova had lost to Keys this year at the French Open and Cincinnati.

In other first-round matches in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava, Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia defeated Zhang Shuai of China 6-3, 6-3, and local hope Petra Kvitova overcame American Bernanda Pera 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

Fresh from her second title of the year in Seoul last month, Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia knocked out former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.