"The moment Rafael Nadal sets foot on clay court, we are afraid" - Daniil Medvedev

Rafael Nadal Daniil Medvedev
Rafael Nadal (L) and Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev recently stated that every tennis player is "afraid" whenever Rafael Nadal steps onto a clay court, regardless of the Spanish legend's form.

Nadal didn't have the best start to the 2024 season. He exited the quarterfinals at the Brisbane International due to injury and had to withdraw from the Australian Open, Qatar Open, and the Sunshine Double (Indian Wells and Miami Masters).

Earlier in April, the Spaniard made a comeback in the clay season at the Barcelona Open but was knocked out in the second round by Alex de Minaur. However, he bounced back at the ongoing Madrid Open and reached the third round on April 27, defeating Darwin Blanch 6-1, 6-0 and De Minaur 7-6(6), 6-3 in the previous two rounds.

During a press conference in Madrid following his opening-round victory over Matteo Arnaldi, Daniil Medvedev emphasized that Rafael Nadal remains a top contender in any claycourt tournament he enters.

The Russian also said that the 'King of Clay's' presence on the red dirt alone is powerful enough to instill fear in his rivals.

"When I saw his statements in Barcelona, in which he said that he was not a favorite, I thought that, really, this is not determined by his state of form because the moment Rafa [Nadal] sets foot on a clay court, all his rivals, we are still afraid," Medvedev said (via Punto de Break).
"It's like that. We are still afraid of him and he showed why against [Alex] De Minaur, being able to play for two hours and win every day, he will definitely feel better," he added.

Medvedev then predicted that Nadal would progressively become "very dangerous," a prospect he found "fun" for the fans but "difficult" for the players.

"I think it will be very dangerous to see his progress. As fun for the fans as it is difficult for the rest of the players," Medvedev said.

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev may cross paths in Madrid Open 2024 QF

Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal pictured at the 2022 Australian Open final
Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal pictured at the 2022 Australian Open final

There is a good chance Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev could meet in the quarterfinals of the 2024 Madrid Open.

Nadal is set to face Pedro Cachin in the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 event on April 29. If the five-time tournament champion wins, his next opponent could be Thiago Monteiro.

In the last eight, Nadal will possibly await Medvedev. The 22-time Grand Slam champion currently holds a 5-1 head-to-head advantage over the Russian and defeated him in their most recent meeting in the semifinals of the 2022 Mexican Open.

The Spaniard could lock horns with Casper Ruud or Jannik Sinner in the last four. Should he advance, he might find himself competing against his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the championship match.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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