Daniil Medvedev - now 25 years old - is part of a new generation of players that have been trying to dethrone Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic from the top of the men's game. When asked in a recent interview who he least enjoyed facing out of the trio, Medvedev replied that they are all equally formidable - with the caveat that he hadn't faced Roger Federer in the Swiss' prime.
"All three are tough," Daniil Medvedev said. "But when I played Roger I was a worse player than now, which doesn't mean anything, because if I beat him now it wouldn't be the same as when he was 25 years old. He remains an amazing gamer and an idol to everyone."
The Russian then refined his answer by separating the Big 3 based on their favoured surfaces and events.
"It's actually easy to answer," Medvedev continued. "Rafa at Roland Garros, Djokovic in Australia and Roger at Wimbledon."
Daniil Medvedev has lost all three meetings with Roger Federer - at Miami 2019, Basel 2018 and Shanghai 2018. He has, however, racked up some decent results against Nadal and Djokovic over the years.
Medvedev has a head-to-head record of 1-3 against Nadal and 3-5 against Djokovic. But he defeated both players on his way to the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals trophy.
The Russian has also faced the two of them in the only Grand Slam finals he has reached so far - Nadal at the 2019 US Open and Djokovic at the 2021 Australian Open. He has defeated the latter at a couple of Masters 1000 events - Cincinnati and Monte Carlo in 2019.
Daniil Medvedev also took the time to speak about the other promising players on tour at the moment.
"Felix (Auger-Aliassime), Jannik (Sinner), Denis (Shapovalov) have great potential," Medvedev said. "For the rest, it is difficult to say, because I do not have enough arguments to do it and if I do they will say that I said this or that thing."
"I think my shots, my movement and my physical appearance doesn’t suit clay" - Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev will begin his clay season at the Madrid Masters this week. The Russian was scheduled to play in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, but was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test.
The Russian spoke to the members of the media ahead of his return on clay, and revealed that his struggles on clay are largely because his playing style doesn't suit the surface.
"I don't think it will change, to be honest. It’s just about playing on clay," Daniil Medvedev said. "I think my shots, my movement and my physical appearance doesn’t suit clay."
Daniil Medvedev failed to win get past the first round at either Hamburg or Roland Garros last year. The 25-year-old also lost early in Madrid, Rome and at the French Open in 2019.
Medvedev is now keeping smaller targets for himself, and he claimed that he is hoping to win "at least one match" at the big claycourt tournaments he plays this year.
"I always said to me, it’s always step-by-step," Medvedev said. "The goal for all three tournaments, Rome, Roland Garros, and Madrid, is to at least win one match in each of them."
Of course, when I come to the tournament, the main goal is to win it," he added. "It's tougher on clay than on hardcourt, so I will adjust, try my best and hope to show some good tennis because that’s the most important. When I show good tennis I can win some great matches."