Daniil Medvedev ‘relieved’ to be still be playing despite calls for Russian ban

An animated Daniil Medvedev in action

Daniil Medvedev won his first match as world number one as he beat Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic to advance to the third round.

Medvedev, who is playing under a neutral flag as part of sporting sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, must reach at least the quarter-finals to keep his place at the top of the rankings.

Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk launched a stinging attack on Russian players, as she suggested they should be banned from the ATP and WTA Tours, but that moves seems unlikely for now.

He was forced to save a break point in the first game of the match but subsequently only dropped eight further points on his serve as he eased to a 6-3 6-2 win in one hour and 11 minutes.

“I think I was pretty consistent,” said Medvedev. “If you look at the first set, it was pretty even. He made a few unforced errors and maybe some bad decisions in the crucial moments. That’s how tennis is sometimes.

“The scoreline might be pretty effective, 6-3, 6-2, but if you look at the points and the games, it was not as easy as it seems. So I’m happy that I managed to pull through and be the most consistent player.

“It’s always strange here, the conditions. You need a lot of time to get used to the conditions, and at the same time it’s a great place to be, so everybody comes one week, one week and a half before the tournament because of both reasons.

“That’s what I’ve done also and I feel great, so hopefully I can do better than the previous times.”

Medvedev also admitted he was relieved to be given a chance to play on the ATP Tour, with many sports banning Russian players from competing in top level sport.

“I’m just pleased to be here and playing the sport I love,” he added. “The fans were very good to me in this game. This is the first time I have heard this and people clapped so thanks a lot for the nice welcome.”