Daniil Medvedev has declared he and Nick Kyrgios 'aren't friends' in a spicy prelude to their fourth-round clash at the US Open.
Medevedev will not only have his US Open title defence but also his World No.1 ranking on the line when he faces Kyrgios in a blockbuster clash in New York on Monday morning (AEST time).
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Proving his charge to the Wimbledon final in July was anything but a flash in the pan, Kyrgios has already exceeded his best-ever run at the hard-court grand slam in New York.
However he will face his stiffest competition yet in the form of the defending US Open champion and current World No.1 in the fourth round.
Speaking before the match, Medvedev admitted he was 'surprised' by Kyrgios' resurgence and declared that the pair aren't exactly friends.
“We are both quite electric. You never know what’s going to happen,” the Russian said.
“I don’t think we are friends. When I say ‘friends’, we haven’t been to the bar together.
“I feel like we respect each other a lot. On the court also we never really had any fight or anything, which can change any moment.
“We are both quite electric. You never know what’s going to happen in the future.
“Nick is a little bit different from other tennis players sometimes on the court. That’s his choice. That’s his life. I’m not the one to judge.”
Kyrgios admitted he will carry a siege mentality into the match, despite holding a 3-1 career record against Medvedev - including a win at the Canadian Open last month.
"As a tennis player, as an athlete, with any profession, you kind of want to be in those moments. Like, I don't want to be playing futures or challengers on back courts with no crowd," the Aussie said.
"That's not why I play this sport. That's not why I pick up a racquet. I want to be playing on the biggest stadiums in the world in front of millions of people, broadcasted globally.
"That's where I want to be. That is why I work hard. It makes it even sweeter.
"I know a lot of people don't want me to succeed. I know a lot of people hate my game, the way I do things, they way I go about it.
"(But) I'm the only Australian still left on the men's side. It's the same story every time, literally every time in a grand slam.
"I always thrive on it. I never want to forget all the things people say. I always carry this chip on my shoulder. I have it all in the back of my head when I'm playing."
Nick Kyrgios can knock Daniil Medvedev off World No.1
Kyrgios has the opportunity to overtake Alex de Minaur as Australian No.1 male player with another victory over Medvedev.
The 27-year-old can also bump the Russian off his World No.1 perch, with Rafa Nadal poised to return to the top of the rankings if Medvedev loses to Kyrgios.
Kyrgios said he lives for opportunities like this, playing for such high stakes at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I want to be there. I want to be on prime time. I want to be on that screen, the screen they're all watching. I embrace it," he said.
"Win or lose, I'm proud of how far I've come. I've worked hard to be in the fourth round at the US Open, against Medvedev. I want to be there.
"I think that's where every tennis player wants to be, playing the best players in the world in the best stadiums in the world, getting paid well. I'm looking forward to it."
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