NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat declared men’s tennis number one Daniil Medvedev “a lanky human” after the latter called a chair umpire “a small cat” during a match on Friday.
Medvedev, who is known for his outbursts on the court, suffered a meltdown during his semifinal victory at the Australian Open. The Russian yelled at the chair umpire for allegedly allowing his opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, to receive coaching from the stands, which is a no-no in professional tennis.
After the umpire hit Medvedev with a warning, the top-ranked men’s player launched a minute-long tirade.
“Bro, are you mad?” Medvedev yelled to the umpire. “For what? And his father can talk every point? Bro, are you stupid? His father can talk every point!”
When the umpire made it clear he wasn’t sympathetic to Medvedev’s complaints, the frustrated Russian dissed him.
“If you don’t give him a warning, you are — how can I say it? — a small cat!” he said, gesticulating wildly.
It was the second time in as many matches that Medvedev had resorted to insults. Asked why Australian fans booed him during his quarterfinal match against Nick Kyrgios, Medvedev told an interviewer it was because the fans “probably have a low IQ.”
Buddy the Cat assembled a hasty press conference within a few hours. Flanked by the Rev. Al Sharpclaw and other feline community leaders, Buddy accused Medvedev of “blatant antifelinism.”
“There is nothing wrong with being a small cat,” the silver tabby said, pounding his paw on a table for effect. “In fact, Medvedev unknowingly paid the umpire a compliment. But that doesn’t change the fact that he intended it as an insult.”
Buddy, Sharpclaw and other leaders demanded the WTA sanction Medvedev and mandate his participation in species tolerance classes.
In the meantime, the 25-year-old Medvedev has advanced to the Australian Open men’s final, where he’ll face 36-year-old Rafael Nadal on Sunday.
The Mallorcan not only has 20 major titles under his belt, he’s also held in high esteem by the world’s felines, who see a kindred spirit in Nadal’s obsessive-compulsive behavior and tendency to erupt into short bursts of energy expenditure. It’s also long been rumored that Nadal loves boxes.
Fellow tennis star Sebastian Korda named his cat after Nadal. No one has named a cat after Medvedev.