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After taking center stage in Mexico, Medvedev and Rublev ready for Miami challenge
Having gone south of the border for a “Tennis Showdown” in the Mexican capital, the pair are ready to hit the ground running during the second half of the Sunshine Swing.
Published Mar 23, 2023
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MIAMI, Fla.—Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev have officially touched down in South Florida, ready to hit the ground running after a whirlwind trip to Mexico City for their exhibition match.
Hours after his defeat in the BNP Paribas Open final to Carlos Alcaraz last week, Medvedev joined his countryman as they piled into a private jet and headed south of the border for a “Tennis Showdown” in the Mexican capital.
“It was great and I really was happy that we made it with Andrey,” Medvedev told press in Miami. “We spent only a day in Mexico, but it seemed like a great city…
“To play was not easy though, because there was big altitude, a different court, we came in the same day… but I think we actually managed to put on a good show.”
Set at the historic Plaza de Toros, the world’s largest bullring, the venue has previously featured matchups like Roger Federer vs Alexander Zverev—a match that at the time set a new attendance record with more than 42,000 spectators—and Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud, which served as the latter’s final farewell match in Mexico as a professional player.
Medvedev and Rublev are no strangers to exhibition events and knockout competitions, but this mid-season detour was a completely different experience for both.
“I've played some exhibitions, but it was more like a tournament,” Rublev told Baseline. “You play a couple of matches and often it was also for money. For example, let's say if you win all the events you get more money, so it was more serious.
“To play an exhibition, just one match, just me and Daniil and that's it, that was something new for me.”
The good friends delighted the crowd with both their shotmaking and their antics, and even flexed their Spanish skills during their post-match speeches—earning both players standing ovations.
“You want to for sure, play normal but also have fun with the crowd,” Medvedev said. “I think we managed to do it, so it was a lot of fun, a lot of great energy and I'm happy that we had time to do it like this before the tournament.”
While the Mexican press reported that the stadium was at 70 percent capacity—quite a bit short of Federer and Zverev’s record—it was far more packed than what Rublev said he was expecting.
“I was thinking there's gonna be no crowd at all!” he admitted. “But then when I saw all the people and the way they supported us, it was really, really nice.”
Rublev eventually claimed the victory after defeating Medvedev 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (4), and then took home another trophy in the form of a selfie with former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson.
With the whirlwind trip under their belt, the Russians rejoined the tour for the second half of the Sunshine Swing at the Miami Open. Scheduled to start on Friday after a bye, No. 4 seed Medvedev will face Roberto Carballes Baena and No. 6 seed Rublev will take on J.J. Wolf in the second round.