Daniil Medvedev, who is bidding to win the Indian Wells Masters, opened up about the difficulty of facing Rafael Nadal on clay. Nadal, who is nursing a leg injury, is set to return to action in Monte Carlo in April.
By India Today Sports Desk: In-form Daniil Medvedev is touted as one of the favourites to win the Indian Wells Masters title in 2023 but the Russian star has already set his sights on the clay season. He is willing to experience the biggest challenge on the red dirt but conceded that he is scared of facing Rafael Nadal on clay in the upcoming months.
Rafael Nadal, who is not playing Indian Wells and Miami Masters to get ready for the clay season, has not played since his 2nd-round exit at the Australian Open due to an injury. However, not many would rule out his chances of doing well on clay and going on to win another French Open crown. Nadal has lost only 45 of 519 matches on the red dirt.
Nadal is expected to make his comeback at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, giving himself enough time to prepare for the Roland Garros in May.
“I didn’t play Rafa on clay. Rafa on clay is probably the worst and best challenge in tennis,” Medvedev said.
“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. 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,” he added.
Medvedev has faced Nadal 6 times and all of their meetings have come on hard courts. The Russian won only one of his meetings, which came at the ATP Finals in 2020.
Medvedev, ranked 6th on the ATP singles charts, opened his Indian Wells campaign with a straight-sets win over Brandan Nakashima. The star player has been in regal form on hard-courts, completing a hat-trick of titles, including Dubai, Doha and Rotterdam.