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Volume 26 No. 174
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Are Younger Male Players Garnering A Bad Reputation At U.S. Open?

Medvedev was booed by a U.S. Open crowd after a troublesome interaction with a ball boy
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Medvedev was booed by a U.S. Open crowd after a troublesome interaction with a ball boy
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Medvedev was booed by a U.S. Open crowd after a troublesome interaction with a ball boy
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Tennis player Alexander Zverev has not been impressed with the behavior of some of the younger male players at the U.S. Open, saying that he "doesn't want his generation to get a poor reputation," according to Kamakshi Tandon of TENNIS.com. Some younger players have "created waves during the tournament, with Daniil Medvedev inviting fans to boo him, Stefanos Tsitsipas clashing with the umpire and calling him a 'weirdo,' and Nick Kyrgios saying the ATP was 'corrupt.'" Zverev, 22, said, "There's a lot of young guys that do things on the tennis court that maybe is not the best thing to do. I don't want the next generation to be known for that." Zverev would "prefer his age group follow the lead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal" (TENNIS.com, 9/3). ESPN.com's Peter Bodo wrote to many fans, tennis "is like theater, or professional wrestling, in sore need of villains as well as heroes." As of Monday, men at the U.S. Open had "accumulated a grand total of $71,500 in fines for 25 offenses." One such occurrence was Medvedev, 23, who "impatiently ripped a towel from the hands of a ballboy, tossing it onto the court." As "jeers and boos rained down on him, Medvedev flipped his racket toward his chair in disgust." Then he walked "toward the umpire, middle finger aimed at the crowd planted on his temple." Kyrgios "escaped the tournament relatively unscathed, looking more clownish than wicked in his three matches." However, his "corrupt" comment aimed at the ATP "could earn him a lengthy suspension" (ESPN.com, 9/3).

FILLING A NEEDED ROLE? ESPN’s Pablo Torre thanked Medvedev “for being the tennis villain that I never knew I wanted” (“High Noon,” ESPN2, 9/3). ESPN Radio’s Will Cain said of Medvedev's act, “This is WWE. That’s the Ivan Drago of tennis at the U.S. Open.” Cain called it "good stuff” for tennis and that he would like to see a "little more of that resilience“ (“The Will Cain Show,” ESPN Radio, 9/4). NBC’s Savannah Guthrie said Medvedev has “embraced his role as a villain.” NBC’s Stephanie Gosk: “He’s not afraid of playing the bad guy.” However, Guthrie noted Federer and Nadal are “so classy and Medvedev is from the younger generation." Guthrie: "He could learn something from the older guys” (“Today,” NBC, 9/3).

IN NEED OF A SPARK: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Tom Perrotta wrote American men’s tennis "needs someone" like Coco Gauff, but the USTA "can’t just wish a boy version of Coco into existence." Young American men "have other options, such as basketball, hockey, baseball, football and soccer." In other countries, such as Serbia and Spain, tennis is "among the most popular sports entertainment." In the U.S., tennis communities "might spread out too thin." Some tennis advocates "complain that the USTA hasn’t done enough to inspire young boys." USTA Player Development GM Martin Blackman said, "We want to start giving more comprehensive support to the boys at an earlier stage. So I think that’s a focus on the boys and men’s side to start earlier" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/3).