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Daniil Medvedev, who will compete in his debut tournament as world’s number one at the Indian Wells ATP Masters, thinks he's grown since losing in the Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal. Medvedev complained about "disrespectful" supporters after his heartbreaking loss to Nadal in Melbourne, when Nadal came back from two sets down to win a record 21st Grand Slam victory. But, after being fined $12,000 for an outburst at the chair umpire during his semi-final triumph against Stefanos Tsitsipas, he acknowledged Wednesday at Indian Wells that such remarks were uttered in the heat of the moment.

"The Australian Open matured me," the 26-year-old stated. "I realized I have a lot of work to do on myself."

Medvedev was crowned world number one on February 28, just days after Novak Djokovic was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Medvedev, who was competing at the Mexico Open in Acapulco at the time, was unable to add to his achievement by winning the tournament, as he was defeated in the final by Rafael Nadal.

The two could face again in the semi-finals at Indian Wells, where Djokovic is unable to compete because to Covid-19 travel restrictions imposed by the US government.

Djokovic, who isn't vaccinated, didn't formally withdraw from the competition until Wednesday, when the first round of the women's tournament had already begun and the men's draw had already been finalised.

Grigor Dimitrov, a lucky loser, took his place in the draw in lieu of the five-time Indian Wells champion.

Medvedev admitted that playing as the world's top-ranked player comes with "a lot of pressure" but also "a lot of motivation," he said.

While he'll have No. 1 next to his name, he won't be wearing the Russian flag since tennis officials decreed that Russian and Belarusian players can't compete under their nations' names or flags in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"I want to play tennis, and I want to play it in different countries," Medvedev added, “Right now, that's the only way I can play, so that's exactly what I'm going to do."

As hostilities in Ukraine entered its 15th day, he underlined his wish for peace.

Medvedev added, "My message has always been the same: I want international peace." "I am confident that every tennis player will concur with me."

The war is sure to throw a pall over Indian Wells, where a dozen players from Russia, four from Belarus, and four from Ukraine have joined.

Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who reached the final in Lyon a week after escaping Russian bomb assaults in her home city of Odessa, took the court on Wednesday for a first-round match against Caroline Garcia of France, who was draped in a Ukrainian flag.

However, she was defeated at the first hurdle, saving two match points in the second set tiebreaker before losing 6-4, 6-7 (8/10), 7-5.