Medvedev hits out at low IQ fans as he reprises role as crowd villain

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MELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Daniil Medvedev is no stranger to crowd hostility and once again seemed to revel in the role of pantomime villain as he overcame mercurial home favourite Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open on Thursday and took a swipe at the feisty home fans.

At the floodlit Rod Laver Arena, the world number two showed steely resolve and remained calm as a robot in the face of fanatic support for Kyrgios to secure a clinical 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-2 win.

Yet the Russian could not hide his irritation during his on-court interview.

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Asked by former champion Jim Courier how he managed to keep his emotions in control, the 25-year-old said he did not have a choice as he was getting booed between his first and second serves.

As Courier started explaining that a few fans were actually imitating Cristiano Ronaldo's famous "Siuuu!" goal celebration and not booing him, Medvedev lost his calm.

"Sorry, I can't hear you. Show some respect for Jim Courier. Thank you, guys. Let him speak please," Medvedev said, addressing the crowd, before writing "siuuuu" on the broadcast camera lens.

"Break point, second serve and people are cheering like you already made a double fault. That's just disappointing ... it's not everybody who is doing it but those who are doing it probably have a low IQ," he later told Eurosport.

Medvedev famously got on the wrong side of the crowd at the 2019 U.S. Open, becoming the player the Flushing Meadows fans loved to hate.

His antics at that tournament included angrily snatching a towel from a ballperson in his third round match and showing the crowd his middle finger.

He then sarcastically thanked them, saying, "the energy you're giving me right now, guys, I think it will be enough for my next five matches".

Medvedev eventually won back most of the U.S. Open crowd after taking Rafa Nadal to five sets in a pulsating 2019 final and winning the 2021 title at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

He will hope he can do something similar at Melbourne Park and improve on his runner-up finish last year.

"People should respect both players," he told reporters. "It's not easy to be there when the whole stadium is against you.

"But probably if I will watch it on TV, I'm probably not going to do it tonight but maybe after the tournament ... I'm going to be, like, 'Wow, that's a great atmosphere for a tennis match'."

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Toby Davis

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