Australian Open news: Who is the real Melbourne favourite? Daniil Medvedev or Rafael Nadal?

Daniil Medvedev gestures during a match

He is many people’s favourite to win the 2022 Australian Open, but Daniil Medvedev has declared that Rafael Nadal is the man to beat at Melbourne Park.

Medvedev is the highest seed left in the draw after world No 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa was cancelled and he was deported.

Reigning US Open champion Medvedev, who is also the only man in the draw who currently holds a Grand Slam as Djokovic won the other three majors in 2021, gave every impression that he is the favourite with a solid 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Henri Laaksonen in the first round at Rod Laver Arena.

After his win he declared: “I like pressure but last year I started well here in Australia in the ATP Cup and I managed to be in the final here,” he said on court afterwards.

“The tournaments in Australia are always really important for me. I like to play in Australia on hard courts. I want to do better here than I did last year but it’s not going to easy.”

When asked by the Eurosport Cube about the favourite tag, he replied: “I always say whoever is the highest ranked is the favourite so this time I will go with Rafa because he has 20 Grand Slams.”

However, Eurosport analyst Mats Wilander firmly believes that Medvedev is the man to beat at Melbourne Park.

“I mean, 52% of his serves went unreturned; can you imagine playing a tennis match like that?” he asked in the Cube.

“He’s added so much as well. He used to be so defensive and passive and waiting. Now he actually takes the ball early at times.

“I think he is the best player in the world now that Novak is not here. He said Rafa, but I think Daniil is the heavy favourite here.”