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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Sound storm struck the Accor Arena.

Daniil Medvedev felt the reign of booing French fans when he paused play during his 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) opening-round Rolex Paris Masters loss to Grigor Dimitrov.

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The 2020 Paris champion responded by giving French fans the one-finger salute on his walk off the court.

Asked about his parting gift for Bercy fans, Medvedev joked "I just checked my nails."

"No, I didn't [give them the finger]. I just checked my nails, like this," Medvedev said drawing laughter from the media. "No, really, it's nothing more than that. Why would I do that to this beautiful crowd in Paris-Bercy?"

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It's a bit of a love-hate relationship for Medvedev and French fans.

On the one hand, Medvedev loves Paris, has a French coach, Gilles Cervara, often trains in France, speaks fluent French and won the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters crown.

On the other hand, Medvedev hates the booing and jeering as he's set to serve and let fans know about it.

French fans amped up the boos after Medvedev tossed his Tecnifibre racquet in disgust.

The third-seeded Medvedev briefly stopped play telling chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein he wouldn't play until the booing stopped before proceeding to play when he realized the wall of sound was not cracking and he didn't want to risk a default.

"I throw the racquet, I get booed. Normal. I don't see a problem with that," Medvedev said. "I go to serve, they applause or something. But I want to serve. They shouldn't applause. So I still serve. The referee was talking during this so Grigor was not ready. Okay, that happens, but I get booed. I didn't see why, so I didn't want to play. That's actually the end of the story.

"Then I was, like, okay. Till they boo, I'm not going to play. But Bercy crowd doesn't stop to boo. So I was, like, okay. Then when I got a code, I was, like, do I really want to get disqualified and finish the match on this note? No. So I went to play."

The Vienna runner-up to Jannik Sinner on Sunday, Medvedev fought hard today, saving four match points when Dimitrov served for the match at 5-3 in the decider and denying another two match points when he was down 5-6.

Ultimately, Medvedev put his finger on his second straight opening-round exit in Paris: he plays better in a Bercy fan-free environment.

"The match was good, actually," Medvedev said. "Grigor is quite in good shape right now. It is difficult because the balls are different, but I fought till the end.

"As for the public, if we take the whole match that last three hours, there were just two minutes, five minutes. At 5-All during the second set, and during the third set I think I threw the racquet, and when I throw the racquet, I can be booed. I mean, it's normal that I should be booed. But if I'm serving and they applaud and I'm being booed, that's another kettle of fish.

"But everybody knows that we lack focus when that happens. Not everyone likes to play here in Paris for this reason. I played in Bercy much better when there was no crowd at all in attendance."

The third-seeded Medvedev's exit comes a day after second-seeded Carlos Alcaraz bowed out to Roman Safiullin.

Photo credit: Tennis TV Screen Capture