Daniil Medvedev has issued US Open organisers a grim warning after overcoming oppressively hot conditions to down Russian compatriot Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows. On another brutally hot day with temperatures in New York soaring to the mid-30s - and conditions even hotter and steamier inside Arthur Ashe Stadium - Medvedev prevailed 6-4 6-3 6-4 to book his place in the last-four.
Medvedev continued his dominance over Rublev - who is the godfather of the 27-year-old's daughter - to reach the semi-finals for the fourth time in five years. He famously denied Djokovic a calendar year Grand Slam after winning the US Open title in 2021.
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However, the third seed was seething about the conditions he and Rublev were playing under, with the stifling heat also posing a risk to the massive crowd watching in the centre court stands. At one point during the match, Medvedev could be seen complaining into the camera while towelling the sweat off himself during the third set: "You cannot imagine, one player is going to die and then they're going to see."
The Russians concerns were echoed by numerous tennis fans online, with calls for the US Open to adopt an extreme heat policy whereby the roof is closed and air conditioning used on days when conditions put players and spectators at risk. The issue came to a head in the evening session after Medvedev's match when play was halted due to a spectator apparently collapsing with heat stroke during Madison Keys' quarter-final clash with Markéta Vondroušová.
US Open rocked by extreme heat drama
The retractable roofs covering Ashe and Louis Armstrong Stadiums at Flushing Meadows are generally only fully closed for rain, unlike at the Australian Open, where the roofs on Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena can be closed and air conditioning implemented in extreme heat conditions. The situation in New York is even more concerning due to the number of times players have been forced to retire because of the conditions at the US Open over the years.
Daniil Medvedev on the conditions in his match against Andrey Rublev:
“One player is gonna die. And they’re gonna see.” pic.twitter.com/zQhXWmdGQU
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 6, 2023
Scary scenes at the #USOpen… not sure now if it is a man or woman who collapsed in the stands during the first game of the first set of Keys/Vondrousova match. Medical personnel attending the person now. The game has come to a pause obvi… #USOpen
— Mathias Berbel (@HitBerbel) September 6, 2023
— JCD (@JCD2865) September 6, 2023
Daniil Medvedev said during his match that he was worried someone would die due to the heat.
Post-match: "We don't want something to happen and then say, Oh, my God, Medvedev said this a couple of years ago...Let's call it dangerous. The question is how far could we go?"
— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) September 6, 2023
— Candy 🇺🇦 (@C_andyfan) September 6, 2023
us open quarter final, 32° with horrible humidity and the game was played for almost 3 hrs. literally both players looked half dead n (daniil) medvedev said “sometimes going to die out here” in ref to heat
— sam (@koivistoss) September 6, 2023
Brutal conditions in this US Open
Heat is over the roof!!!!
— tennis fan (@voula70000907) September 6, 2023
Sorry US open you need to close the roof or loose the event in the future !! These conditions are crazy for sport #USOpen
— R Pittaway (@pitabread15) September 6, 2023
#USOpen shut the damn roof and turn on the AC already. There is zero reason to make players and fans suffer in the arbitrary name of it being an "outdoor tournament."
— 📦 Роджер 🇺🇦 (@rfh_iii) September 6, 2023
Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev 'suffer' in brutal heat
"The only good thing I see in these conditions is that both suffer," Medvedev said after the match. "Usually there is not one that suffers so it's tough for both of us.
"Honestly, at the end of the first set I kind of couldn't see the ball anymore. I kind of played with sensations. Just tried to go for it, tried to run, tried to catch the balls and he did the same."
Medvedev was ultimately able to deal more effectively with the stifling heat and humidity inside Arthur Ashe Stadium to end Rublev's grand slam charge at the quarter-finals for the ninth time in his career. The all-Russian match lacked the fireworks of the all-American showdown between Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton the previous day, but the sight of the pair battling the conditions was no less enthralling.
Rublev got the contest off to a fast start, grabbing the early break for a 3-0 lead, but Medvedev hit back to claim six of the next seven games and the opening set. It was an ominous start to the match for Rublev with Medvedev 25-0 at Flushing Meadows after winning the first set and he finished the job in two hours 48 minutes.
"Sometimes before the points I was like 'wow it seems like he cannot run anymore'... but he was there all the time and I was like 'damn, when is he going to be tired?'," Medvedev said. "But actually we were tired all the time. So yeah, brutal conditions and super tough to win."
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