Daniil Medvedev denied raising his middle finger to the crowd after being booed during his defeat to Grigor Dimitrov at the Rolex Paris Masters.
The Russian was beaten 6-3 6-7 (4) 7-6 (2) in the round of 32 and even stopped playing in the second set until the boos stopped inside the Accor Arena, which prompted an argument with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein after he was given an official time violation.
The world number three admitted he did not want to carry on playing but also knew he risked being disqualified from the match if he refused to do so.
The drama started in the second set when, with the scores level at 5-5, the 27-year-old received jeers from the Parisian crowd after throwing his racket while stepping up to serve.
Medvedev gestured to the crowd to be quiet and walked back to his bench in protest and told the umpire he would not play until they stopped. In turn, Medvedev received the time violation for delaying the game.
In the end, Bulgarian Dimitrov battled to a three-set win after he let six match points slip before finally dispatching his opponent on the seventh to advance through to the last 16.
Medvedev received more boos as he walked off the court and appeared to give the middle finger to the crowd, something he later denied.
WHAT HAVE WE JUST WITNESSED.
After the match, he told a press conference: “I just checked my nails, like this, no really it’s nothing more than that. Why would I do that to this beautiful crowd in Paris Bercy?
“I threw the racket, I get booed, normal. I don’t see a problem with that. I go to serve and they applaud or something but I want to serve so they shouldn’t applaud, so I still serve and the referee was talking during this, so Grigor wasn’t ready.
“This happens, but I get booed, I didn’t see why so I didn’t want to play and that’s actually the end of the story.
“I was like OK, until they boo I’m not going to play but the Bercy crowd doesn’t stop to boo and then when I got the code I was like ‘do I really want to get disqualified and finish the match on this note?’ So I just went on to play.”
Smooth sailing for Nole ⛵️
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 1, 2023
Elsewhere, six-time Paris Masters champion Novak Djokovic began his campaign with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
The Serbian will face Tallon Griekspoor in the last 16.
Seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed in straight sets, beating Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 7-6 (4).