Richard Krajicek believes it will hurt Carlos Alcaraz's career if he compares himself too much to Rafael Nadal.

Alcaraz is being hailed as Spanish tennis' next big hope with Nadal nearing the end of a hugely decorated career, one that has seen him win 22 grand slam titles, two behind Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.

Alcaraz himself has claimed two grand slams at the age of 20, winning the US Open in 2022 before following it up by claiming Wimbledon glory the following year.

Despite the comparisons, Krajicek hopes Alcaraz doesn't think too much about comparing himself with his countryman Nadal.

"If he starts to think about it or live up to it or try to beat it, then it will hinder his career, I think, a little bit," said Krajicek, speaking to Stats Perform at the Rotterdam Open. "But no, his name is Carlos Alcaraz. He said it himself. And he's not a new Nadal.

"Nadal is a legend. And he's going to do what he has to do. And I think by winning two grand slams, being number one, I don't think he [Alcaraz] feels any pressure or like, I have to do this or this.

"He's proved so much already. I don't think he has too much to prove. And he's just playing for the love of the game. He's going to win many more grand slams and be number one for many weeks also."

Krajicek thinks Alcaraz's all-round game has the potential to take him to the top, if he hasn't reached it already.

"I like everything about his game," Krajicek added. "I mean he's physically good, he's fast, I love his mentality on the court."

"Also like Rafa, [he is] a very humble person and he can do it all. He can play serve and volley, he plays from the base, he's got a big forehand, he's got a very good touch on the drop shot, he can volley."

Krajicek pointed to Alcaraz's affection for the sport of tennis as a particularly infectious part of his game.

"He really loves the game," Krajicek continued. 

"I think when he played the US Open, there was a huge point in the final and it was a really important point. And they were playing for number one in the world.

"It was one set all, and Alcaraz loses the point, but the point was unbelievable. And Alcaraz smiles to his box like, 'Wow, I just played a great point, and I love this game'.

"So for me, then I became a fan. I'm like, 'Wow, you really love this game'. That's so great to see."

It is only a "matter of time" until Carlos Alcaraz is the number one tennis player in the world, according to Richard Krajicek.

At the age of 20, Alcaraz has already won Wimbledon and the US Open, becoming world number one in September 2022.

He was defeated in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to kick off this year's grand slams, though, failing to win any of the three tournaments in which he has played in 2024.

However, former world number four Krajicek believes Alcaraz is on his way to becoming the best, despite dropping to number two in the world rankings.

"His potential is very high," Krajicek told Stats Perform. "I think he's the future number one.

"I'm not saying anything special because he's beaten everybody. He beat Djokovic three times out of the last four times they played. He beat Medvedev from being two sets to love down, which shows how mentally and physically strong he is.

"So for me, it's a matter of time until he becomes number one. I think he can play on all surfaces, maybe clay is his worst surface but all the other surfaces you would say he's a title contender."

With the 'Big Three' of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic already retired or nearing the end of their storied careers, there's been much discussion over who will fill their boots.

Alcaraz has already proved his abilities, while 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner claimed Australian Open glory to kick off this year having reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2023.

Krajicek feels those two will lead the way for the next era of men's tennis, saying: "It's difficult to say who the next generation will be, but I think Alcaraz and Sinner will have a good rivalry. They already have played unbelievable matches.

"Of course, Alcaraz has already been number one, won two Grand Slams. Sinner is now slowly coming also to that level. He is number four, maybe number three after this week."

However, Krajicek has reservations over whether the likes of Alcaraz and Sinner can reach the legendary status of the 'Big Three'.

"To really have the same kind of rivalry, I don't know if that's possible," Krajicek added. "I mean, together, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic won 66 Grand Slams. That's incredible. In every Grand Slam, they were in the final or winning. It's just amazing.

"I don't know if it's possible to have two players or three players that basically win every Grand Slam they play. But I believe those two are going to be the two biggest names for the next couple years."

World number two Carlos Alcaraz has retired hurt after twisting his ankle in the first round of the Rio Open.

The two-time grand slam winner hurt his ankle after just two points while playing Brazilian Thiago Monteiro before the Spaniard went on to break his serve.

But just one game later, Alcaraz had his serve broken, shook Monteiro’s hand, and left the court shortly after, retiring from the match.

It comes a week after the 20-year-old lost to Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in the semi-finals of the Argentina Open.

After the match, world number 117 Monteiro said it was “strange” for an injury to occur so early in the match.

“On the court it didn’t look so serious, but then I saw it in the big screen and it was a bad twist,” he said.

“Now I can only cheer for him to recover. He is a star, a dominant one in the new generation.”

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner can join Novak Djokovic as members of a new 'Big Three' in men's tennis over the coming years, before taking up the Serbian's mantle when he retires.

That is the view of four-time grand slam semi-finalist Tommy Haas, who believes Sinner's sheer power will help him build on the Australian Open title he captured last month.

Sinner recovered from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling Australian Open final in January, claiming his first grand slam title at the age of 22.

The Italian's triumph made him the third-youngest man to win the event since it moved to Melbourne Park in 1988, older only than Djokovic in 2008 and Jim Courrier in 1992.

That breakout victory led to suggestions that Sinner could join Alcaraz in becoming a regular challenger to Djokovic, who has largely dominated men's tennis in recent years, with Roger Federer retiring in 2022 and Rafael Nadal beset by injury problems.  

While Haas believes Alcaraz is currently a more rounded player than Sinner, he feels the Italian has every chance of adding to his first major crown in the coming years.

"Maybe with Al, it's a bit more of an all-round game, but I think Sinner is going to continue to work on his," Haas told Stats Perform. 

"He's already done a great job on movement, on defence. Maybe he doesn't actually need to learn to get to the net and finish more, but I'm sure he's going to try because of his powerful groundstrokes.

"If he keeps playing like he does, it's just so powerful. You're going to be reacting pretty much all the time against him.

"He's going to try to improve his serve, he's going to try to improve physically. If he stays healthy, if Alcaraz stays healthy, these two are going to be the ones playing for a lot of the big titles."

However, Haas also thinks there are other contenders capable of pushing for major honours, adding: "Then you have Holger Rune, you have these other young players coming up.

"He now has to step it up a little bit. I think there's been lots going on with his team, with lots of chefs in the kitchen, but he's got the right mindset, he's got the will, he's got the potential.

"You have [Alexander] Zverev, who obviously still believes he can and should win a slam, so there's a lot of nice contrast there. 

"Medvedev, on hardcourts you can never count him out, and he's only 27. I think there is still potential for those guys to keep doing well.

"[Andrey] Rublev, I feel like he's getting better on defence as well. He pounds the ball like no other. So if he gets a little bit tougher mentally, don't count him out. There's a lot of good storylines there."

Novak Djokovic is still setting "unbelievable" standards and remains the man to beat heading into the 2024 campaign, according to Holger Rune.

Twenty-four time grand slam winner Djokovic added another Australian Open, French Open and US Open crown to his collection this year.

The 36-year-old won a Tour-best seven singles titles in 2023 and finished top of the ATP Rankings for a record-extending eighth year in a row.

"I think it's great to see that Novak can still play at this level. It's unbelievable what he's doing," Rune said.

Only Carlos Alcaraz stopped Djokovic from landing a career first calendar Grand Slam with his triumph in the Wimbledon final.

However, if the next generation are to truly take the mantle from Djokovic, Rune accepts they need to start bloodying the Serbian's nose more regularly.

Alcaraz was closest to Djokovic in 2023 with six tour titles, while Daniil Medvedev won five and Jannik Sinner four.

For all the talk of someone new potentially dominating the male game, though, Rune does not believe Djokovic's era of dominance is over yet.

"Alcaraz won a slam this year. Sinner finished in the top four. I was number four for the first time this year," he said. 

"I think the next generation is very interesting. I think we are trying to compete with Novak and to see if we can match him. 

"Still, he's winning three out of four grand slams - it's kind of tough. Before we can say that, we need to start winning more regularly against him."

 

Rafael Nadal's return from injury will be "great for tennis", says world number eight Holger Rune, as the Spaniard builds towards an appearance at next month's Australian Open.

Nadal will return after close to a year on the sidelines at the Brisbane International, which runs from December 31 to January 7, as he targets a bid for a 23rd grand slam title at Melbourne Park later in January.

The 37-year-old has not competed since this year's edition of the Australian Open, having suffered a hip injury during a surprise second-round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald.

Nadal attempted to recover from his injury before the start of the French Open in May, only to be forced to withdraw from that tournament and undergo season-ending surgery.

The 'King of Clay' has said 2024 will likely be his final year on the tour, and while Rune accepts it will be difficult for Nadal to recapture his best form, the Dane is excited to see how he fares.

"It's great for tennis that Rafa is coming back," Rune said. "It brings even more fans to the tournaments and more excitement for the sport. I think this is good. 

"We're going to have Novak [Djokovic], Rafa, [Carlos] Alcaraz, [Jannik] Sinner and more guys for the Australian Open. That's going to be super fun and it's exciting to see how it's going to go.

"You see some videos where he's practicing hard, but of course it's always difficult to come back and play after so long. But I'm excited to see it."

Jack Draper was the last player to lose to Nadal, going down in four sets in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open, and he is keen for a chance to avenge that defeat next year.

"I mean, I think it's amazing for tennis. Obviously, he's put in a lot of hard work to be back on tour, I'm seeing lots of videos of him training very intensely," Draper said.

"It's just good for the spectators, the players, that someone of his calibre – one of the greatest of all time – is back playing.

"I hope I get a chance to play him again because I think I was one of the last people to play him. It'll be amazing to have him back on the tour."

World number 32 Alexander Bublik echoed those sentiments, adding he was excited to see who will have the honour of being Nadal's final opponent if – as expected – he retires next year.

"Of course, it's very exciting that Rafa is coming back," Bublik said. "He's a legend of our game.

"But I just discussed it with Holger… I'm more excited to think who is going to play him in his last match, who he's going to finish such a legendary career against. 

"So for me, it's an exciting time. We'll see how he comes back but he's going to bring a lot to the game."

Novak Djokovic ensured he will finish the year ranked world number one for an eighth time after battling to a late-night victory over Holger Rune in his opening match at the ATP Finals.

Djokovic is chasing a record seventh title but again found 20-year-old Rune, who is making his debut at the eight-man event, a troublesome opponent before pulling off a third win in five meetings.

It was past midnight in Turin when Djokovic completed a 7-6 (4) 6-7 (1) 6-3 victory after three hours and four minutes on court.

Rune has fared much better against Djokovic than most of his rivals over the last couple of years, beating him in Paris last autumn and Rome in the spring before a narrow defeat in the French capital a week-and-a-half ago.

The Serbian went on to claim the Masters series title, maintaining his record of not having lost a match since the Wimbledon final.

It was Rune who struck first with a break to lead 3-2 but Djokovic hit straight back and the high-class set went all the way to a tie-break, which the top seed took with a forehand smashed cross-court past his helpless opponent.

Rune reacted well, breaking again to lead 2-0 in the second set, but once more Djokovic found the immediate response, and a strong serve foiled the young Dane when he forced a set point at 4-5.

Rune slumped after reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals prior to hiring Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker last month, but there were plenty of moments here to demonstrate his huge talent and fearsome ball-striking.

He has won at least a set against Djokovic in every match they have played, but he had a helping hand in setting up a decider, his rival playing a highly unusual lacklustre tie-break.

Djokovic broke straight away to start the deciding set, only for this time Rune to recover the deficit immediately, prompting a frustrated Djokovic to stamp on two rackets, snapping the frames.

But he broke again to lead 4-2 and this time there was no way back for Rune.

Djokovic told Prime Video: “It took everything. I saw in the first game when he fired shots from the baseline, I knew it was going to be a tough night for me. I thought he played great. I played great in some moments.

“Overall a win is a win. It was a very emotional win and a tough win knowing the significance of tonight’s match. After a really terrible second-set tie-break I think I played a really solid third set.”

Earlier, Italian Jannik Sinner delighted the crowd by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening singles match.

Sinner, 22, played as an alternate two years ago but qualified for the first time this season after claiming four ATP Tour titles and rising to world number four. He is one of the favourites to lift the trophy this week, which would be the dream scenario for the home fans, and a 6-4 6-4 victory over Tsitsipas is a big step towards the semi-finals.

Novak Djokovic could still win three majors next year but Gilles Simon reminded tennis fans the world number one is not "eternal" as he heads towards the end of his career.

Djokovic triumphed in three of the four majors in 2023, with September's US Open success taking him level with Margaret Court's record 24 grand slam triumphs.

Defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final, Djokovic – aged 36 years and 111 days – became the oldest winner of the men's singles title at the US Open, as well as winning a trio of majors in a year for the fourth time.

That saw him surpass Roger Federer – who won three grand slams in a year on three occasions.

Simon, though, warned that Djokovic cannot play on forever.

He told Stats Perform: "I think he can win some [majors, but] I think he's getting to an age where it is going to become difficult.

"Most of the observers want to believe that a player is eternal but none are more eternal than the others.

"I think he can win a lot next year; will he win one, two or three? Next year he can do one more big year, but I also think that it will be his last."

 

The 36-year-old Djokovic acknowledged the retirement speculation after his US Open victory, asking how long he can continue.

Simon likened the twilight of Djokovic's career to fellow great Federer, whose playing days were curtailed by injury and fitness issues.

"At one point like every player there's going to be a break, that was the case for Roger Federer, remember when he won in Australia at the age of 37 playing incredible tennis," Simon added.

"At Wimbledon, he could have won because he lost against Novak Djokovic on match point. Time never had a grip on him, he had never been injured, he played really well, and then all of a sudden he disappears."

Another of tennis' 'Big Three', Rafael Nadal has not played since January 18 at the Australian Open – again owing to injury problems as years of toiling on the court takes its toll on even the best.

"We have Rafael Nadal who we hope to see again next year, who got us accustomed to more traditional injuries, longer injuries and with doubts," Simon continued.

"Once again he wins the Australian Open, he wins at Roland Garros even with his history with his foot, he again has a semi-final at Wimbledon.

"We say no about Novak because he is more careful, but we said the same about Federer, he expends less energy, he has a more fluid game and technique, he preserved himself from injury.

"I think next year will be very interesting because it’s a year where he can again win, where he still has an advantage [ahead of the rest] but we saw him lose against [Carlos] Alcaraz at Wimbledon.

"I thought he would have more advantage on grass because of the experience he has compared to others and his game works so well on grass – but he is beatable."

Age has shown no sign of slowing Djokovic down yet after he lifted the Paris Masters trophy for a seventh time on Sunday, defeating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.

That victory marked his second hard-court ATP-1000 title of 2023, Djokovic managing multiple Masters titles in a single season for the ninth time in his career. Only Federer, having won multiple such events in a year six times in his time, can get near to that feat.

Yet Simon suggested 30 major triumphs may be out of Djokovic's reach due to the emergence of Alcaraz, who won at Wimbledon this year, and a gruelling schedule.

"He's so strong he knows how to prepare himself, but he can't do a series of tournaments," said the Frenchman, who won 14 career titles and reached a high of number six in the ATP rankings.

"If everything was going well he would be playing every week like when he was 25 years old, so that is what is missing.

"He looks after himself, ultra-professional and very strong. The US Open was important for him, I see him maybe doing one or two next year, but I am waiting to see for the next few years after that.

"I can't see him reaching 30 [majors] for example when Carlos Alcaraz could win two or three a year – I wish it for him but I don't see it like that."

The Rolex Paris Masters became the first Masters 1000 to broadcast its qualifying matches on Twitch, live on Rivenzi's channel.

Gilles Simon has warned that Carlos Alcaraz dominating men's tennis is no certainty.

Alcaraz has enjoyed a stunning rise to the top of the rankings over the past two seasons, with the 20-year-old winning two grand slam titles and 12 trophies overall.

The Spaniard has not won a title since triumphing at Wimbledon in July, however, and has reached only one final since then, losing to Novak Djokovic at the Western & Southern Open in August.

A shock defeat to Roman Safiullin at the Paris Masters this week has damaged Alcaraz's chances of pipping Djokovic to the year-end world number one, and Simon does not feel he is a shoo-in to be the standout player of the next generation.

"There are a lot of people who say: 'He's going to win 20 Grand Slams'," Simon told Stats Perform.

"It's long a career. People say he has got the freeway ahead of him. Yes, but we do not know what's behind him? 

"When [Roger Federer first arrived, we thought he was going to win a lot, and he did. Breaking [Pete] Sampras' record, we were sure of it.

"But the danger came from behind. First Rafa [Rafael Nadal] then Novak, then Andy [Murray]. And I think it will be the same for Carlos. The danger will come from behind."

Simon, who won 14 career titles and reached a high of number six in the ATP rankings, pointed to the likes of world number four Jannik Sinner and number three Daniil Medvedev, though the latter is seven years Alcaraz's senior.

"There are players aged 16, 17, who are playing extremely well and who may also have a similar career path. In the end, he still has Novak and hyper-stable, hyper-strong players like Daniil on hard court or other players on clay who can really cause him problems," Simon continued.

"Sinner and so on, but he may also have two or three guys behind him who, in two or three years' time, we don't know who they are yet, but they'll be up there like him, and we'll be saying to ourselves: 'Ah well, he never had that period when he was supposedly going to win everything with no competition in front of him'.

"There is never no competition. The other players, even if they are not the calibre of Federer or Nadal, they are very strong. Daniil is very strong, very stable on hard court, so he can beat [Alcaraz].

"Carlos seems to have the upper hand. But no, Daniil finds a solution, comes up with something else and beats him. And that is why it's never a foregone conclusion, and why it's so interesting to follow. Otherwise, we would not even be watching the match."

The Rolex Paris Masters became the first Masters 1000 to broadcast its qualifying matches on Twitch, live on Rivenzi's channel.

Rafael Nadal is set to return to grand slam tennis at the 2024 Australian Open, tournament director Craig Tiley has announced.

The 37-year-old has not been in action since suffering a hip flexor injury during his second-round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald during the 2023 edition in Melbourne.

Earlier this year, Nadal announced he would miss the French Open, where he has claimed 14 of his 22 major titles, as he was undergoing surgery on the issue.

 

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His inactivity has seen the Spaniard slide down to 240th in the world, but Nadal will be able to rely on a protected ranking for the first grand slam of the 2024 calendar.

Speaking in an interview on Australian breakfast TV programme The Today Show, Tennis Australia chief executive Tiley said: “We can reveal exclusively here that Rafa will be back.

“He’s been off for most of the year and in talking to him over the last few days he confirmed he will be back, which we’re really excited about, the champion of 2022. That’s awesome.”

Tiley also revealed “some of the greats” will be making their way Down Under, with former women’s singles champions Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber all lined up for returns.

“We’ll welcome them – and their families – back to Melbourne with open arms and can’t wait to see what their next chapter brings,” he added.

Home favourite Nick Kyrgios, who has played only one ATP Tour match in 2023 due to injuries, has returned to training and is hopeful of being fit for Melbourne, with Tiley adding that he was “doing his utmost to get back to his best”.

Feliciano Lopez has doubts whether Spain's golden generation led by Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will ever be replicated.

With Nadal's glittering career nearing its end, the torch for Spanish tennis has been passed on to Alcaraz, who at just 20 has already won Wimbledon and the US Open.

The pair have now combined for over half of Spain's grand slam titles, and while Lopez feels his nation will have more success in the future, the former world number 12 has concerns whether it will match the levels that Nadal produced. 

"I believe that we are not going to experience the generation of Spanish tennis players that we lived through again," Lopez told Stats Perform. "People have to be clear about that.

"But that does not mean that there will not be other great tennis players that will represent the country very well in the coming years.

"I don't know Spanish tennis in the minor categories, beyond some names that have been told to me, but I know that there are kids of 16 or 17 who play well.

"In the end, I think Spanish tennis has been in a place that is very difficult to get back to, but I'm sure that apart from Carlitos, there will be other young players who will bring us joy during the next four, five or six years."

Alcaraz has reached at least the semi-finals in the last four grand slam tournaments he has played, winning two of them, and Lopez has faith that he can carry the torch for Spanish tennis once Nadal calls it a day.

"Spanish tennis is in the hands of Carlitos and when Rafa announces his retirement, the entire country will want him to win," Lopez added. 

"He has already won two grand slams and has been number one. It is a blessing to have a player like Carlos at a time when Rafa has a year left to retire."

Nadal's decorated career has coincided with a great era of Spanish sport, with the nation's male and female football teams both winning World Cup titles while they have also enjoyed success in the likes of basketball and motorsport.

Lopez takes pride in his country's sporting achievements, explaining: "A country like Spain that is not a world power, and sport does not have the aid that neighbouring countries invest, in the last 20 years, has not stopped winning titles in all disciplines: Tennis, football, and basketball."

Novak Djokovic matched Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles with his fourth US Open win.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the Serbian’s record.

Grand slam record

Djokovic has won seven of the last 10 major tournaments he has played and came up just a Wimbledon final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz short of a season slam this year.

That extends his record to 65 wins and three defeats since the start of 2021. He missed last season’s Australian and US Opens due to his Covid vaccination status but has otherwise been in a class of his own in the last three years.

He won 2021’s first three slams and reached the final in New York, only for Daniil Medvedev to deny him a calendar year grand slam – making this year the second time he has gone within one match.

Perennial French Open champion Rafael Nadal defeated him in last year’s quarter-final in Paris, since when he has won four out of five slams and reached the final of the other.

In his career as a whole, Djokovic has won 88 per cent of his grand slam matches, 361 of 409, and one-third of the major tournaments he has entered with 24 of 72.

He is now two clear of Nadal for the most grand slam titles by a male player and moves ahead of Serena Williams for all players in the Open era. Court’s 24 wins were split almost equally between 13 in the amateur era and 11 in the Open era.

Man for all surfaces

Djokovic enjoys a stunning record at all four grand slams, as the only man to win each on at least three occasions and one of only three to hold the four titles simultaneously.

He has not matched the calendar slam feat achieved by American Don Budge in 1938 and Australian great Rod Laver in both 1962 and 1969, but did win Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015 before adding 2016’s Australian and French Opens.

Melbourne is where Djokovic has bulked up his grand slam total with an astonishing 10 wins, the third-most of any player at a single slam after Nadal’s 14 French Opens and Court’s 11 titles in Australia – only four of which came in the Open era.

Djokovic has won Wimbledon on seven occasions and the French three times.

Novak Djokovic made history with a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at the US Open.

The 36-year-old Serbian tied Margaret Court’s tally with a 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-3 victory over Daniil Medvedev.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at day 14 at the US Open.

Pic of the dayShot of the dayQuote of the dayStat of the dayNumbers gameBrit watch

There was guaranteed to be British success in the men’s wheelchair singles with Alfie Hewett facing compatriot, and doubles partner, Gordon Reid.

It was Hewett who triumphed 6-4 6-3 to take his fourth US Open crown and eighth grand slam singles title.

Carlos Alcaraz paid tribute to new Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham following his quarter-final victory at the US Open.

The defending champion spread his arms wide, mimicking England midfielder Bellingham’s goal celebration, after beating Alexander Zverev in straight sets on Wednesday night.

Alcaraz posted a picture on X, formerly known as Twitter, captioned “Hey Jude!”, and tagged Bellingham.

His fellow 20-year-old responded on Thursday morning, writing: “Que maquina! (What a machine) Keep going mate.”

Alcaraz is a fan of Real and spoke earlier in the tournament about his admiration for Bellingham, who has hit the ground running in LaLiga with five goals in his first four games.

“I’m really happy to watch him play at Real Madrid,” said Alcaraz. “He’s such a great, talented player, one of the best in the world.

“I’m sure that he’s going to be the best player in the world in that position. I’m just really, really happy to have him in the team. I talk a little bit with him. He’s such a great person, as well.”

Daniil Medvedev warned a player could die in the 90-degree heat at the US Open.

Medvedev needed medical attention and an inhaler as he struggled in the hot and humid conditions before beating his fellow Russian Andrey Rublev.

The roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium was partially closed to protect the players from the sunlight, but both were visibly wilting during the two hour 48-minute battle.

Late in the third set, when Medvedev went to his towel, he said into a television camera: “One player is gonna die and they’re gonna see.”

Following his 6-4 6-3 6-4 quarter-final victory, the 2021 champion recalled an incident earlier this summer when Chinese player Wu Yibing collapsed during a match in Washington.

He said: “I could talk a lot, brutal conditions for both of us.

“I mean, I don’t know if it could be seen through the camera, because we are sweating so much and use a lot of towels.

“I have no skin left on my nose here, and, like, here it’s red, but it’s not because of the sun so it’s not like you’re burned but I have no skin left.”

He continued: “I just saw Andrey in the locker room and his face is very red, and it’s also not because of the sun so I guess it’s the same. That tells everything, like we left everything out there.

“The thing is that even if it would go further, I think we would still leave even more. Then I don’t think I had anything left but if the match would go on, I would find something more.

“And the only thing that is a little bit, let’s call it dangerous, is the question how far could we go? Maybe we could go five sets and it would be… when I say ‘fine’, yeah, we would struggle a little bit next day and it would be fine, or we have a person in Wu who fell down.”

Medvedev said he felt shaky as he tried to recover from the match.

“I’m feeling kind of okay now. I’m just pretty exhausted. Let’s say, yeah, do couple of interviews here and there straightaway, and it was tough.

“I was with an ice towel there. Everything was foggy, like I couldn’t see clearly. Because the match is over, so the adrenaline is not there anymore.

“So I was, like, a little bit shaky. Then I come to the locker room and that’s the toughest part because you kind of want to just sit there for hours. But you know that if you do it, it’s not a good recovery.”

He continued: “So I sat there for, like, 10, 15 minutes, went and did a quick ice bath. Changed. Went to eat. But had, I don’t know how you call it in English, when sugar blood, sugar levels go up. I started sweating, my head started turning.

“I said to my team please bring me any food. I was sitting there like this sweating like hell even with the AC on, and they brought some food and then I felt better. Yeah, that’s how it is sometimes.”

Rublev, who has now lost nine out of nine quarter-final matches at grand slams, said: “I’m not even thinking about my health.

“I don’t know. At this moment, these moments I’m thinking that I need to fight. Doesn’t matter how, it’s tough.

“I mean, the sport is not easy. And you need to be ready for everything that can happen.”

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