Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev faced a tough challenge in the Australian Open first round as he fought back from a set down against qualifier Terence Atmane. Atmane won the opening set, but Medvedev, a two-time runner-up, turned the match around, leading 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 1-0 when Atmane had to retire due to cramps.
The conditions in Melbourne were hotter than the past week, reaching 27C, contributing to Atmane's cramping issues. Medvedev, acknowledging the challenging conditions, expressed sympathy for his opponent's struggle and praised Atmane's potential.
Atmane, visibly emotional, retired after being broken early in the fourth set, shaking hands with Medvedev and thanking the crowd for their support. Medvedev, commenting on the conditions, said, "It was brutal conditions. What's brutal is it hasn't been hot for seven days here, and now it is hot." He emphasized the physical toll of the game, noting that fatigue affects both players, and it's a matter of handling it better.
In his post-match comments, Medvedev mentioned his goal to adopt a more mature approach in interactions with the crowd. Referring to past incidents of calling the Melbourne Park crowd "disrespectful," he expressed a desire to foster a positive mentality.
Greek seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas also secured a comeback victory, beating Belgian lucky loser Zizou Bergs. The 25-year-old, who had withdrawn from the ATP Finals in November with a back injury, emphasized his remarkable recovery and readiness for the tournament. American 16th seed Ben Shelton and Spanish 23rd seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina also progressed with wins in their respective matches.