Daniil Medvedev - Australian Open 2023

Daniil Medvedev reveals the ‘worst challenge in tennis’

Daniil Medvedev has spoken about the thing that he is most ‘scared’ of in tennis, as he looks to win a fourth consecutive title.

Medvedev is on a 15-match winning streak, having collected titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, and is looking to continue it at Indian Wells.

Despite his good form, the former No.1 has spoken of the challenges he fears most in tennis, “Rafa on clay is probably the worst and best challenge in tennis.”

He continued, “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.”

Although Rafael Nadal has been very dominant clay in his 21-year ATP career, winning a record 14 Roland Garros titles, Medvedev may have slightly underestimated how many matches the Spaniard has lost on the surface.

Nadal has won 91% of his career matches on the dirt, with a 474-45 win-loss record.

Medvedev has never played Nadal on clay and is conflicted over whether he would want to, “But 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.”

Like Nadal is dominant on clay, Novak Djokovic is dominant in Australia having gone unbeaten down under since 2018.

Djokovic has a positive record against Medvedev overall, which is emphasised in Australia where he has not lost once to the Russian.

“Novak I managed to beat him few times,” said Medvedev. “But again, that’s two guys who have 22 Grand Slams. I would say, you know what? Novak in Australia is tough. I had few [tough matches], 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.”

Djokovic has found success across the globe, but Medvedev can’t understand why the 10-time Australian Open champion is particularly superior at the first major of the year.

“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,” said the 2021 US Open champion.

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

Daniil Medvedev head-to-head vs Nadal and Djokovic

Medvedev vs Nadal: 1-5

Last meeting (2022) – Nadal beat Medvedev, 6-3 6-3 (Acapulco semi-final)

Medvedev vs Djokovic: 5-9

Last meeting (2023) – Medvedev beat Djokovic, 6-4 6-4 (Dubai semi-final)

Medvedev vs Djokovic in Australia: 0-4

Last meeting (2023) – Djokovic beat Medvedev, 6-3 6-4 (Adelaide International 1 semi-final)

Medvedev will not have to worry about either Nadal or Djokovic in Indian Wells, where he will look to extend his winning run against Ilya Ivashka in the third round.

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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.