Acapulco, Mexico – As much as Daniil Medvedev was interested in taking the number one ranking in men’s tennis, he knew there were more serious things happening on Thursday related to his native Russia.
Novak Djokovic’s loss at the Dubai Championships meant the Serb would move up to second place and Medvedev made sure to become the 27th man topping the ATP Tour – even before Medvedev reached the semi-finals with a match victory. Mexico Open Championship.
All of this happened on the same day that Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that began with air and missile strikes on military installations before troops and tanks pushed across the border from the north, east and south.
“Watching the news from home and getting up here in Mexico was not easy,” Medvedev said after beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 6-3. “By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world. We play in many different countries. I have been to many countries as a beginner and as a professional. It is not easy to hear all this news. … I am all for peace.”
Medvedev noted that the duo that won the doubles title at the Marseille Open last week included a Russian (Andrei Rublev) and another Ukrainian (Denis Molchanov), saying, “This was great, because people need to stay together.”
Reflecting today, Medvedev added: “In these moments, you understand that sometimes tennis is not that important. … It was not easy to play and I am glad that I managed to win the match, but it was a busy day for me.”
Medvedev, 26, who won the US Open last year with his first Grand Slam title, said he has received congratulations from other players over his new standings, which will become official on Monday.
“Of course, I’m glad I got to first place,” Medvedev said. “It has been my goal since I was little.”
He will face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Hard Court Championships. Medvedev lost to Nadal in the Australian Open final in January after leading by two sets, a year after losing the final there to Djokovic.
“Always playing against the Big Three or the Big Four, it’s a great honor, and a big challenge. In Australia (against Nadal), I could have won, but in the end the result was that I lost,” Medvedev said. “It was a huge loss, but such is the sport.”
Nadal beat Tommy Ball 6-0, 7-6 (5) to improve his record to 13-0 this season. Nadal, a three-time Acapulco champion, scored 23-2.
Stefanos Tsitsipas also moved into the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Marcos Giron.
Third seed Tsitsipas plays either Petr Jogovcic or Cameron Nouri.
Defending champion Alexander Zverev was expelled from the tournament after hitting his racket with a racket on the chair referee’s podium after losing in the doubles.
Zverev has been fined $40,000 and will forfeit more than $30,000 in prize money and all ranking points from the Mexican Open. In addition to those penalties, the ATP announced Thursday that it would conduct “another review of the incident.”