Daniil Medvedev: ‘I’m scared to play Rafael Nadal on clay’

Shahida Jacobs
Daniil Medvedev antics

Daniil Medvedev believes facing Rafael Nadal on clay is the “worst and best challenge in tennis” while he also rates Novak Djokovic pretty highly on hard courts in Australia.

Medvedev and Nadal have met five times in top-level tennis and all five have been played on hard courts with the Spaniard leading their head-to-head record 5-1.

The Russian, meanwhile, has faced Djokovic 14 times with the Serbian leading the H2H 9-5 with one encounter coming on clay and one on grass. They have also met three times in Australia and Djokovic have won all three matches.

After kicking off his Indian Wells Open campaign with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Brandon Nakashima in the second round on Friday, Medvedev was asked what is tougher in terms of baseline game: Rafa on clay or Novak on hard court.

Nadal, of course, is known as the King of Clay having won the French Open a record 14 times and numerous other titles on the red dirt while Djokovic collected his 10th Australian Open title in January.

“I didn’t play Rafa on clay. Rafa on clay is probably the worst and best challenge in tennis. When I say ‘worst’, it’s because he lost, what, I don’t know, 10 matches? I’m not even sure he lost 10. I mean, last years he was losing a little bit more in tournaments like Rome and Monte-Carlo,” he replied.

“But, yeah, I will be honest, I’m scared to play Rafa on clay. In a way I want to try it, and for sure I will fight to win, but that must be scary to go out against Rafa on clay.

“Novak I managed to beat him few times. But again, that’s two guys who have 22 Grand Slams. Yeah, I would say, you know what? Novak in Australia is tough. I had few, I would say, I lost probably four times against him, four or five there. Didn’t win once even though some of them were close battles, especially ATP Cup or the first time I played him in the Australian Open.

“But thinking back of these matches, I don’t know why there he plays, in my opinion, better than on other continents or courts. But, that’s tough, same like Rafa on clay, he barely loses there.

“Tough challenges, and I hope I can do it one day in my career.”

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