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"I have no other choice": Daniil Medvedev turns to pirate sites amid Spectrum-Disney dispute
The 2021 US Open champion is just like any other helpless viewer blacked out by the untimely impasse.
Published Sep 05, 2023
Daniil Medvedev is just like any tennis fan. When kicking back—this case in the comfort of his hotel room in New York—he wants to take in the US Open viewing experience.
There’s just one problem: it’s not available where the 2021 champion is staying due to a dispute between Charter Communications (widely known as Spectrum) and the Walt Disney Company (which owns ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 among its stable of networks).
Over Labor Day Weekend, subscribers hoping to tune in to catch the hard-court major or opening week of college football continued to endure a dreaded blackout. Spectrum stated to its customers, “We offered Disney a fair deal, and yet they continue to demand an excessive increase. This impact to customers is consistent with past practices from Disney, no matter who you get your service from.”
Responded ESPN, “Although Charter claims that they value their customers, they declined Disney’s offer to extend negotiations which would have kept Disney-owned networks up for consumers in the middle of perennial programming events like the US Open and college football.”
The two sides are yet to reach an agreement.
Accustomed to adapting and finding solutions on the court, Medvedev has applied that line of thinking to keep up with the tournament when he’s offsite from the USTA Billie Jean King National Center. His method may or may not be kosher, the world No. 3 admits, but certain times call for desperate measures.
“I was waiting for this question because I guess in a lot of hotels they have Spectrum. I cannot watch it on TV anymore,” he told press after defeating Alex de Minaur in the fourth round on Monday.
“I don't know if it's legal or illegal, but I have to find a way because I cannot watch it on TV. I got Internet, probably this, how you call it, pirate websites, I watch tennis there.
“I have no other choice.”
Medvedev also revealed his investment into seeing rival Novak Djokovic rally from two sets down in the third round, a match that burned midnight oil and then some. A dedicated effort for someone following on a screen in the palm of his hand.
“Sometimes I do want to watch some series. Do I put it on the phone or not? I watched Djokovic with Djere until it was 2:30 and then I had to go to sleep,” he recalled.
Speaking about Tuesday night’s all-American showdown between Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton, Medvedev is keen to see who comes through. But with his own quarterfinal to prepare for against “close” friend Andrey Rublev, a clash set to go down Wednesday, boundaries must be set this time around.
“Probably I'm going to watch it if they don't play too late, my phone, if Spectrum don't find an agreement,” he said. “It's going to be a great atmosphere, a great match, at least one American in the semis. Let's see.”
Medvedev is 5-2 lifetime against Rublev, taking both of their prior major meetings including here in the very same stage three years earlier.