Daniil Medvedev, the world’s second-ranked tennis player and the 2022 Australian Open favorite, didn’t exactly ingratiate himself to the Rod Laver Arena crowd on Thursday. The Russian defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios in the tournament’s second round, a match in which many supporters yelled soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature “SIUUU” goal celebration.
But Medvedev clearly didn’t recognize Ronaldo’s celebration, as the 25-year-old indicated after the match he thought the fans were booing him.
“[Remaining calm and focused] is the only choice when you get booed between first and second serve,” Medvedev told four-time Grand Slam winner turned commentator Jim Courier. “You have to stay calm and win the match.”
Fans began actually booing Medvedev after his on-court comment, causing Courier to explain their original intention of imitating Ronaldo.
Courier’s explanation failed to put Medvedev at ease. In a later interview with Eurosport, Medvedev said the Ronaldo impersonators “probably have a low IQ.”
“I had a few moments on my serve, many games were actually quite easy for me, but a few moments were tough and he managed to make some good returns,” Medvedev said. “Then I have breakpoint second serve and people are cheering like you’ve already made a double fault. That’s just disappointing. It’s not everybody that’s doing it but the people doing it probably have a low IQ.”
Andy Murray was similarly frustrated with the “SIUUU” chants, calling them “painful” after his first-round win over Nikoloz Basilashvili on Tuesday.
“Initially, I thought it was [jeering], because there were some people booing during my practice yesterday. I have no idea what for, so originally that’s what I thought it was,” he said. “But then after a few times it was like, ‘No, they’re doing that, I think it’s like ‘SIUUU’ or something that Ronaldo does when he scores. And, yeah, it was incredibly irritating.”
Medvedev and Murray will likely hear plenty more “SIUUU” chants through the rest of the Australian Open after their public comments.