‘Definitely dangerous’ – Daniil Medvedev admits he is ‘still scared’ of Rafael Nadal

Shahida Jacobs
A smirking Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) during his tennis match

Rafael Nadal might believe it is “stupid” to describe him as a favourite to win tournaments, but Daniil Medvedev insists most players are still scared when they have to play the Spaniard – and not just on clay.

Tennis great Nadal has taken tentative steps towards a return to full fitness as he has now played four matches since making his comeback following his two-month injury enforced absence.

Having returned to action at the Barcelona Open last week, Stefanos Tsitsipas declared that Nadal was one of the favourites to win the tournament despite his lack of competitive matches.

“I would say that Rafa, regardless of whether he hasn’t played at all or if that’s his first tournament, we all know what Rafa is capable of and how quickly he can adjust to one of his favourite surfaces, which is a clay court,” the Greek said.

“I would not be surprised if we saw Rafa be in the finals of Barcelona, because that is something that he has done over and over again for years and years and years.”

Nadal, though, dismissed the comments as he described it as “stupid”.

“At the moment, it seems stupid to me, realistically. He knows that’s not the case, but I understand that out of respect for what I’ve done at this tournament why he is saying that,” the former world No 1 said.

“As of today, everybody knows that I’m not the favourite to try to win a tournament. There is a history behind that I guess that weighs, but today I’m not favourite.”

READ MORE: Stefanos Tsitsipas responds to Rafael Nadal branding his Barcelona prediction ‘stupid’

Nadal lost in the second round in Barcelona against Alex de Minaur, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner turned the tables on the Australian in Madrid on Saturday as he won 7-6 (8-6), 6-3.

Naturally talk about a Nadal title run has increased and Medvedev was asked if he considers Nadal a favourite at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

“I said this because I saw his statements like in Barcelona where he said for sure he’s not a favourite,” he explained. “I think the thing is that no matter which form Rafa is or how he’s feeling, when he steps especially on clay, I would say doesn’t matter if it’s clay or hard court, but especially on clay, you’re still scared.

“You’re still scared of Rafa that wins like what, I don’t know, 80 matches and loses 1, something like this.

“And he proved it [on Saturday]. You know, two hours – I didn’t see the match, I was playing the same time – but two hours, he managed to win, so probably feeling better and better. Definitely dangerous.

“So let’s see how he does further on, but if he can play better and better, I think it’s good. It’s going to be very fun and tough for other players.”