Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev - Australian Open 2022

Daniil Medvedev claims Rafael Nadal’s absence ‘opens the possibility for many players’

Daniil Medvedev has voiced his opinions on Rafael Nadal’s announcement that he will not play Roland Garros, labelling the Spaniard as ‘one of the best in history’ while suggesting that it could be a big opportunity for the rest of the ATP tour.

Medvedev has been having a positive week at one of Nadal’s most successful tournaments in Rome, and spoke about the 10-time Italian Open champion’s announcement that 2024 could be his ‘last year’.

“Hopefully he can come back as fast as possible because he’s an amazing player, amazing athlete, one of the best in the history,” said the Russian.

Medvedev continued, “We can argue about this but hopefully he can come back and play some more Slams as long as he can and we’ll see how it goes.”

“I guess it’s a first Roland Garros in whatever, 10 years [19 years], where there is no Rafa and probably out of these ten he won it probably what, nine, eight times.”

In the past 18 editions of Roland Garros, there have only been three winners other than Nadal with Novak Djokovic (2), Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka getting their hands on the Coupe des Mousquetaires in that period.

Medvedev has claimed that Nadal’s absence will create opportunities for lots of other players, “It opens the possibility for many players because even if he would not be let’s call it 100% physically but he would decide to play, he would be favourite, for sure.”

While he did not specifically put his name in the hat as a Roland Garros contender, Medvedev has had improved results on the clay reaching the semi-final of Rome after not winning a single match at the event in his three previous attempts.

“I said before the tournament that I was feeling really great on practice. I’m proving it. I feel great,” explained Medvedev.

The 27-year-old plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in his semi-final match later today, in a bid to reach only his second clay court final.

Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal head-to-head

Medvedev and Nadal have played on six occasions, including two iconic Grand Slam finals at the Australian Open and the US Open that both went the distance.

Here is their head-to-head in full:

Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal: 1-5

  1. Nadal beat Medvedev, 6-3 6-0 (Canadian Open Final 2019)
  2. Nadal beat Medvedev, 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 (US Open Final 2019)
  3. Nadal beat Medvedev, 6(3)-7 6-3 7-6(4) (ATP Finals Round-Robin 2019)
  4. Medvedev beat Nadal, 3-6 7-6(4) 6-3 (ATP Finals Semi-final 2020)
  5. Nadal beat Medvedev, 2-6 6(5)-7 6-4 6-4 7-5 (Australian Open Final 2022)
  6. Nadal beat Medvedev, 6-3 6-3 (Acapulco Semi-Final 2022)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.