Daniil Medvedev news: New world No 1 has ‘mixed emotions’ over rise to the top

Kevin Palmer
Daniil Medvedev applauding
Daniil Medvedev

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev has admitted he has ‘mixed emotions’ as his rise to the top of the world rankings came in the week when his nation’s leader launched a war in Ukraine.

Medvedev became the first player outside of the ‘big four’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to claim the top spot in the world rankings since 2004, after his run to the semi-finals of last week’s Mexican Open was enough to see him leap ahead of Djokovic at the top of the ATP list.

There is no doubt that Medvedev’s rise to the top of the rankings has been hastened by Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and his subsequent deportation from Australia last month.

That decision denied Djokovic a chance to defend his Australian Open title, with the 2,000 ranking points he collected from winning the event in 2021 also lost amid the political storm.

Now Medvedev has claimed the world No 1 ranking, but he released a statement on his social media channels admitting the events in Ukraine had taken some shine off his achievement:

“It’s a huge honor to take over this spot,” he said. “I’m sure everyone can understand it comes with mixed emotions that it happens this week.

“Thank you to my wife, team, sponsors, friends, & everyone that has helped along the way. It’s a long journey and I look forward to the years ahead.”

Medvedev has yet to make any public comment on the conflict in Ukraine, but his Russian colleague Andrey Rublev made a passionate pleas for peace en-route to his title win in Dubai last week.

“In this moment, you understand that tennis sometimes is not that important,” he said.

“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.

“You realize how important it is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what and to be united. We should take care of our earth and of each other. This is the most important thing.”

Medvedev and Rublev are due to play their next matches at the Indian Wells event that gets underway on March 10th, with tennis authorities coming under increasing pressure to follow the lead of football and Formula 1 by placing sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.