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Medvedev's Major Bear Hug

By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, November 12, 2021

The pro circuit is a competitive jungle.

Daniil Medvedev is embracing his animal spirit.

More: Novak on PTPA Progress

The second-ranked Russian's elastic reach, explosive movement and sometimes funky stroke production has earned the US Open champion enough animal nicknames to inspire his own exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

Fans, fellow players, including Iga Swiatek, and tennis commentators have tagged Medvedev with nicknames including: "Octopus", "Spider", "Giraffe," and even "Pretzel." Hall of Famer John McEnroe calls Medvedev a "chess master" and "my favorite player to watch."

Meeting the media ahead of launching his ATP Finals defense, Medvedev set the record straight on his one true nickname: "Bear" or "Meddy Bear" among his American fans.

Asked his preferred nickname, Medvedev did not hesitate or hibernate in response.

"Bear" is more than Medvedev's life-long nickname, it's his Russian surname.


A post shared by Medvedev Daniil (@medwed33)

"Pretzel was the first time I heard. I don’t know if it should stay a nickname," Medvedev told the media. "Octopus is kind of most common one, which a lot of people call me.

"If you ask me my favorite one is the Bear because that’s what my surname means in Russian and that’s always the easiest for me because I’ve been called a Bear all my school years and university years until I was like 20 years old. So that’s the easiest one."

Elite players have shown animal instinct with Novak Djokovic crediting his Wimbledon run in July to his "wolf energy", Rafa Nadal branding his iconic Raging Bull logo on his apparel, shoes and Academy and Roberto Bautista Agut dispelling a major myth earlier this season revealing his real nickname is not "RBA" but "Batty," which friends and fellow players have called him since his junior days.

Still, the man known as Meddy Bear can bare with fans making a menagerie of nicknames for him.

Just don't call him Pretzel please.

"It’s rare a person is gonna give himself a nickname," Medvedev said. "It's for other people to do it. The more people say the same nickname the more it suits you. So pretzel was one so far not yet." 

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty for ATP Finals