World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev will debut in Los Cabos on Wednesday night and return to action after skipping Wimbledon. Daniil needs to play well in Los Cabos and Montreal to defend the ATP throne from Alexander Zverev before taking on the ultimate challenge at the US Open.
Medvedev spoke to the media ahead of his first game in Mexico. One of the questions was to describe one of his biggest rivals, Rafael Nadal. Daniil praised the 22-time Major winner, calling him an amazing fighter and person.
Medvedev and Nadal have played six times so far, with two exciting five-setters at the US Open and Australian Open. Rafa tumbled Daniil after almost five hours at the 2019 US Open before they had two thrilling duels at the ATP Finals in 2019 and 2020.
In the hunt for a second straight Major title, Daniil held 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 at a high level before the Spaniard launched one of the most notable comebacks of his career.
Nadal stole sets three, four and five to claim a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in five hours and 24 minutes. Rafa and Daniil faced off again a few weeks later in Acapulco, with the Spaniard claiming a 6-3, 6-3 victory in two hours.
It was Nadal’s fifth win over Medvedev in six meetings, playing well on serve and return and forging the win with three breaks on serve. Medvedev had a chance to extend the second set after scoring 11 break points in games four and six.
He squandered them all and allowed Nadal to seal the deal and advance into the title fight. The Spaniard took a 2-1 lead in the first set when the Russian made a backhand error. The Australian Open champion kept his games under control for the rest of the set, finishing with a smashing serve to keep the score 5-3.
Daniil lost focus early in the second set, finding a set and a collapse 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 as he opened a 4-2 gap after a 20-minute game.
Rafa fired a service winner in game eight to stay ahead and toppled the rival with another break in game nine that sent him into title contention. “To identify Rafa I have one word: amazing. He is an amazing fighter, an amazing warrior and an amazing person with great mental strength,” said Daniil Medvedev.