New World No 1 Medvedev reflects on Russia-Ukraine war

‘By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world.’

Daniil Medvedev, in his first match since clinching the world number one ranking, beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-3 in Acapulco on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the ATP 500 event where he could next face Rafael Nadal in an Australian Open final rematch.

Medvedev, who took the court hours after Novak Djokovic’s quarter-final loss in Dubai meant the Russian would replace him atop the rankings, converted six break points and fired down 12 aces, including one to seal the match.

His top ranking came on the same day that Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began with air and missile strikes on military facilities before troops and tanks rolled across borders from the north, east and south.

“It’s not easy, actually, to play a match when you get this (news) during the day,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview when asked about becoming world number one.

“Actually to be honest, Novak’s match, I saw that he was losing, but I didn’t know that if he loses I’m gonna become number one. I thought I have to do something big here.

“So then when I was receiving all the messages, well I understood that, yeah OK, it’s gonna happen.”

Further reflecting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict he said: “Watching the news from home, waking up here in Mexico, was not easy.

“By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world. We play in so many different countries; I’ve been in so many countries as a junior and as a pro. It’s just not easy to hear all this news. … I’m all for peace.”

“In these moments, you understand that tennis sometimes is not that important. It was not easy to play and I’m happy that I managed to win the match, but it was bit of a roller-coaster day for me.”       

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