Daniil Medvedev told a journalist they should be “embarrassed” of themselves on a hot-headed day from the world number two at Tokyo 2020 Olympics, having also said he could “die” from the heat earlier in the day.
He was responding to a question on whether there is an association of cheating linked with Russian athletes, as the country is barred from competing as a nation at the Games following a litany of doping offences. Instead, Medvedev and his team-mates are technical neturals under the banner of the ‘Russian Olympic Committee’.
Medvedev had just beaten Fabio Fognini in a gruelling three setter, reaching a quarter-final with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta by beating the Italian 6-2 3-6 6-2, but only after raging at the chair umpire when he again voiced his anger about playing in hot conditions.
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"First time in my life I’m not gonna answer a question,” said Medvedev following a question about whether all Russian athletes are tainted by previous scandals.
"I think you should wire him from the Olympics, I don’t wanna see him again."
Medvedev has not been in the best of moods in Japan, calling it a “joke” that they are regularly playing in temperatures exceeding 30°C. He took that a step further during the win over Fognini, when he was asked by chair umpire Carlos Ramos if he was OK when he appeared to be struggling with fatigue.
"What else can I do? I will fight and I can finish the match but I can die," Medvedev replied.
If I die, who will take responsibility?
Later in the day, the International Tennis Federation confirmed the schedule will be shifted to a 1500 start (Japanese time) to try and mitigate against the worst of the heat.
Medvedev is attempting to become the first Russian man to win singles gold since Yevgeny Kafelnikov at Sydney 2000.
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