It is “difficult” to talk about the future of tennis

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Daniil Medvedev of Russia lifts the trophy after winning his singles final match against Dominic Thiem of Austria on day eight of the Nitto ATP World Tour Final at the O2 Arena on November 22, 2020 in London, England.Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

New Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev told CNBC tennis has a murky future, with players still unsure when – or if – the Australian Open will continue due to the coronavirus pandemic.Medvedev, who won the highly prestigious ATP Finals tournament at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday, said a lot of uncertainty remained in the sport.

“(It’s) difficult to talk about the future, because as we see with the Australian Open, it’s not easy at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty and we don’t know when we are going to play it, if we ‘you are going to play it’, Tania Bryer, CNBC men’s world number four.

“In addition, each country is different and that’s why tennis is more difficult, because we play in so many different countries and we come from different countries… but we managed to have a very good end of the season. ”

The Australian Open is the first major Grand Slam tennis event of the season each year and is currently scheduled to start on January 18.

Some unconfirmed reports suggest the tournament could be postponed, but in a statement on Sunday Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said he hoped to announce the date tickets go on sale “in the next two weeks” .

Medvedev made history on Sunday when he defeated current US Open champion and world number three Dominic Thiem to clinch the much-sought title.

After beating the world’s best players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, on his journey to the tournament final, he became the first player to beat the world’s top three players in an ATP final.

The Russian tennis champion said the match was “one of the biggest wins of my career” after coming back from a set to claim the title.

The weeklong tournament takes place each November and is the final of the men’s professional tennis season. It has been held in London since 2009 but will move to Turin, Italy, until 2025.

No spectator is “reality right now”

As the UK was in the midst of its second nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus crisis, the event took place at the O2, behind closed doors without any spectators.

Asked about the difference in playing without an audience, Medvedev said it was “really unfortunate.”

“I would love to win at the O2 with the spectators, I’m sure it’s even more of a special feeling. Unfortunately… in almost all tournaments we play in empty stands, that is the reality at the moment. ”

He said the players were trying to get used to it, but still put on a “great show”.

“We always promote our great sport and that’s really good I think. I hope that the supporters will come back soon and that it will return to normal, ”he added.

With or without the support of spectators, Medvedev is known for his low-key celebration when he wins.

He told CNBC that this trait has developed throughout his career, including as a young junior witnessing another contender’s overzealous celebrations after winning the first round of a tournament. “The guy was rolling all over the court yelling ‘come on’, hugging his family and friends, which is normal is emotions. But I’d be like: Come on, it’s round one… it’s not a Grand Slam win. ”

At 24, Medvedev is one of the next generation of players challenging some of the longtime names in modern gaming, including Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

“It’s not easy because these three are the three greatest tennis players of all time and there is no doubt about it. All the records they’ve broken are just stunning and no one before could even come close to their records, ”he said.

“So it’s really difficult… even if they’re not that young anymore, to beat them and especially in Grand Slam tournaments. So we do our best, we train hard. We win them several times,… so I hope that one day we can do it more and more. ”

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