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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

Daniil Medvedev embracing his US Open heel status

Daniil Medvedev

You don’t see too many professional athletes embracing the heel role in sports these days, but Daniil Medvedev is one of the few.

Medvedev has turned himself into an enemy of the fans at the US Open, the guy they root against. And he seems to be loving it.

Medvedev’s heel status began in the third round of the major when he beat Feliciano Lopez. Medvedev snapped at a ballperson, triggering a code violation. He flipped off some people and got into it with the chair umpire. Then after his match, Medvedev thanked the fans for energizing him with their boos.

After he won his fourth-round match, it was more of the same:

He has played his way into the semifinals against Grigor Dimitrov, which is the best major finish of his young career. You have to respect the way the 23-year-old isn’t shying away from the negative attention and instead is leaning into it. You may not like it, but he is using his villain status to help propel his play.

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