Put your money down for Medvedev's lowdown May charge media for interviews

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- Andrei Medvedev gained a reputation at Wimbledon this year for being a free spirit. He would give out autographed pictures of himself to anyone who asked for one -- for free.

But as far as interviews go, Medvedev is thinking of taking a new tack: The more you ask, the more you pay. At least that's what No. 8 seed Medvedev said after yesterday's 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Fernando Meligini of Argentina.


"You just talk to me direct, we can make a deal," Medvedev, 19, said at the end of a rambling, 30-minute post-match news conference. Here's some of what he had to say:

On was the atmosphere of New York: "I hate the atmosphere because it is too many people. If you want a place to sit, with me at my height, I have to sit. Otherwise I fall down. . . . I am here already for 26 days; I guess it is enough time to be ready for this, but still I am sweating too much. You cannot breathe. In Spain, it is hot, but at least you can breathe. Here you don't get fresh air. All your functions are a little bit destroyed."


The atmosphere of the Open: "It is great. It is great. It is just the worst atmosphere I have met. Seriously you have the only one place you can be in the players' lounge, and it is so crowded and it is so loud that I cannot be there more than one hour to be normal, to be calm. After one hour, I start to be a little crazy and upset with the people walking around. After two hours, I probably start to cry. But I haven't been there for two hours. I am guessing that it would be very tough."

About being listed as being from Ukraine: "It is bull. I am Russian. I am not just Russian. I am 100 percent Russian. There is not one part of me Ukrainian. Not as far as I know. Maybe somebody a long, long time ago, but I don't think so. To call me Ukrainian because I was born there and the people started to talk to me in Ukrainian language and I don't like it. I am not involved in the politics. I only play tennis."

About the rowdy Open crowds: "You have to play and we do our job. They came just to enjoy it, so I don't care. As long as they don't . . . shoot us, it is OK. No problem."

About the possibility of losing in the Open: "You know, if I lose, I will try to take a lesson from this loss, but I will not take it as a suicide or the end of life."

Luck of the draw

Jaime Oncins, who lost to Jimmy Connors last year, said that several fellow pros came up to him after seeing that he drew Mats Wilander in the opening round this year.

"Every player come to me, and say, 'Oh, man, what do you have?" Oncins said after losing to Wilander. "Every time you are going to play guys like this. I said, I don't like it because last year was -- I never have come in the stadium against Connors and the crowd was crazy."

And next year?


"Maybe I get [Guillermo] Vilas," Oncins said jokingly. "I don't want to see anybody come back, no more comebacks. If I see the draw, I go home. Bye."

Charge on Graf

All eight women's seeds in Steffi Graf's half of the draw who played in yesterday's second round advanced, seven of them in straight sets.

Graf's post-round interview was about as short as her 6-3, 6-1 victory over Meredith McGrath. There were two questions, one about the heat ["It was humid so I did sweat some," she said] and one regarding her opponent ["She had a good serve, she didn't hold up to it, she really wasn't solid from the back."]

Rain, rain, go away

The match last night between fourth seed Boris Becker and Andrei Cherkasov was postponed because of rain after two points. The match will be continued today.