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Medvedev on Zverev Diss: We Were Never Close Friends

By Alberto Amalfi | @Tennis_Now | Friday, April 14, 2023

A day after Alexander Zverev blasted Daniil Medvedev as "one of the most unfair players on tour", the Miami Open champion offered a stinging response.

When it comes to suspect sportsmanship, Zverev needs to "look at yourself in a mirror" Medvedev shot back.

More: Medvedev Saves Match Points Fends Off Zverev

The imbroglio stems from the pair's pulsating Thursday night duel at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

A gritty Medvedev saved two match points fighting off Olympic gold-medal champion Zverev, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7) despite the German twice serving for the quarterfinals.

Afterward, Zverev dissed Medvedev with one of the coldest, no-look handshakes tennis has seen since Patty Schnyder's infamous hand-fake diss of Conchita Martinez years ago.

In addition to the super-frosty "you don't deserve a look in the eye" drive-by diss, a frustrated Zverev drove the verbal snark knife even deeper through the heart telling Eurosport Germany that Medvedev used the bathroom break as a stall tactic card to disrupt his rhythm.

Zverev zapped the lanky Russian "one of the most unfair players on the tour."

In the aftermath of his straight-sets loss to Holger Rune in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarterfinals today, Medvedev was asked by the Eurosport Germany journalist who spoke to Zverev for his reaction to the German's remarks.

A candid Medvedev said Zverev is "living in his own world" and should flush the bathroom break excuses.

The 2021 US Open champion said Zverev is simply projecting his own bad behavior on opponents.

"I go to the toilet, Iose next two games, he's serving for the match, and he's saying I'm going to the toilet to make him play worse?" Medvedev told the media in Monte-Carlo. "Sascha is living in his own world.

"I already had like five players in the locker room coming to me and saying, Come on, Daniil, why are you so unfair (smiling)"   

The man whose run of five consecutive finals came to an end in Monte-Carlo said chronic complaining is part of Zverev's competitive character.

 "Sascha, when he loses, we can find maybe 25 interviews of him where he does say some strange things. Again, honestly saying like if guys like Casper [Ruud], I don'tknow, Andrey [Rublev], maybe Karen [Khachanov], even Diego [Schwartzman], so I had let's call it a fight with him in ATP Cup, honestly, I'm at fault, and probably he still like doesn't like me the way maybe he liked me before this match.

"And I'm sorry that a guy like Diego, who's so kind and so fair play, feels like this about me.

"Sascha is not this guy. Sascha is not like Casper, he's not like Diego, he's not like Andrey. When he says someone is not fair play, you're like, Okay, great. Look at yourself in the mirror."

Tennis fans know all about Medvedev's long-running feud vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas with the man nicknamed Meddy Bear once calling the Greek out on court at the Miami Open.

It was widely perceived that Medvedev and Zverev, whose parents are both Russian, were actually pretty good friends despite their fierce rivalry. 

Asked about the state of their friendship today, Medvedev said "we were never really close friends" suggesting Zverev hyped a relationship that did not exist.

"Just gonna say we were never really close friends, maybe only in juniors," Medvedev said. "That's only him, in his congratulations speeches, saying something like he was friends with me and my wife, which is definitely not the case since long time.

"I never said this."

After suffering just his second loss in his last 28 matches, Medvedev mocked the ice-cold, no-look handshake he received from Zverev last night, initially extending a no-look hand to Rune before breaking into a smile joking "unfair" in both an allusion to Zverev's griping and Rune's own sparkling and clever all-court aggression.

So what's the future for sparring partners Medvedev and Zverev who may well be slugging it out for Grand Slam silverware in the future?

Medvedev said he doesn't view it as a big deal if Zverev was simply venting "in the heat of the moment" and his emotions got the best of him.

However, if Zverev continues to brand him as one of the most unfair players in the future, Medvedev said he will discuss it face-to-face and assess whether they will remain on speaking terms.

"It doesn't disappoint me at all, but again, if in one week he's going to continue saying, well, I'm going to going to come to him in the locker room and say, Let's discuss what's wrong. Tell me, I'm gonna tell you, and maybe we never gonna speak again and we are gonna be enemies or whatever," Medvedev said. "But at this moment I don't care much."

We do care and look forward to the next time these feuding superstars collide on court.

Photo credit: Harry How/Getty