Daniil Medvedev lauded the Spaniard’s achievements on the clay, calling him the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ challenge in tennis.
World No. 6 Daniil Medvedev heaped praise on Rafael Nadal’s extraordinary clay-court genius, and added that he is scared to play the legendary Spaniard on a surface he is nearly unbeatable.
Speaking to the press following his 6-4 6-3 win over Brandon Nakashima at the Indian Wells Masters, Medvedev admitted that Nadal is the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ possible matchup of any player on clay.
Medvedev said, ”I didn’t play Rafa on clay. He is probably the worst and best challenge in tennis. When I say worst, he’s lost like what, ten matches, I’m not even sure if it’s ten.”
”Last year he was losing a little bit more in tournaments like Rome and Monte Carlo. I will be honest I am scared to play Rafa on clay. In a way, I want to try, and for sure I will fight to win, but that must be scary to go out against Rafa on clay.”
Medvedev was initially quizzed in terms of baseline games on whether it is tougher to play Nadal on clay or Novak Djokovic on hard courts. He later added, ”Novak I managed to beat him a few times, but that’s two guys with 22 Grand Slams. Yeah, Novak in Australia is tough. Same like Rafa on clay, he barely loses there.”
Nadal is currently out of action and recently told Spanish media that he is taking his current injury week by week as he steps up efforts to recover in time for the clay-court swing next month. Djokovic, of course, is not competing in North America after having his vaccine waiver request rejected.
For Medvedev, he is touted to win his fourth title of 2023 at the desert. The Russian is not renowned for his liking of clay and has been vehemently critical of the surface in the past. He has since eradicated his form on the sport’s most demanding surface, making the second week of the French Open in each of the last two seasons. Could we see a Medvedev-Nadal matchup at this year’s Roland Garros?
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