‘Rafael Nadal is amazing player and person,’ says his great rival

World no. 1 Daniil Medvedev will debut in Los Cabos on Wednesday night, returning to action after skipping Wimbledon. Daniil has to play well in Los Cabos and Montreal to defend the ATP throne ahead of Alexander Zverev before facing the ultimate challenge at the US Open. Medvedev spoke with the media ahead of his first match in Mexico. One of the questions was to describe one of his greatest rivals, Rafael Nadal. Daniil praised the 22-time Major winner, calling him a fantastic fighter and a person. Medvedev and Nadal have played six times so far, with two thrilling five-setters at the US Open and the Australian Open. Rafa toppled Daniil after almost five hours at the 2019 US Open before they embraced two exciting duels at the ATP Finals in 2019 and 2020. Chasing the second consecutive Major title, Daniil had a massive advantage over Rafa at this year’s Australian Open.

Daniil Medvedev said nice words about Rafael Nadal.

The Russian led 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 and played on a high level before the Spaniard started one of his most remarkable comebacks in a career. Nadal stole sets three, four and five and earned a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in five hours and 24 minutes. Rafa and Daniil faced again a few weeks later in Acapulco, and the Spaniard earned a 6-3, 6-3 victory in two hours. It was Nadal’s fifth win over Medvedev in six encounters, playing well on serve and return and forging the victory with three breaks of serve. Medvedev had a chance to prolong the second set after earning 11 break points in games four and six.

He wasted them all and allowed Nadal to seal the deal and advance into the title clash. The Spaniard forged the lead at 2-1 in the opening set when the Russian sprayed a backhand mistake. The Australian Open champion kept things under control in his games for the rest of the set and closed it with a booming serve at 5-3. Daniil lost focus at the start of the second set to find himself a set and a break down before earning 11 break points in games four and six! Nadal stayed composed and defended them all, spraying no errors and gaining a massive boost when he opened a 4-2 gap after a 20-minute game. Rafa fired a service winner in game eight to remain in front and toppled the rival with another break in game nine that sent him into the title clash.

“To identify Rafa, I have one word, amazing. He is an amazing fighter, an amazing warrior and an amazing person with great mental strength,” Daniil Medvedev said.