“Challenge That Is Almost Impossible”: Daniil Medvedev Dreams of Beating Rafael Nadal on Clay

Published 08/19/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Rafael Nadal of Spain stand together before their Men’s Singles final match on day fourteen of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Winner of four Masters 1000 tournaments, Daniil Medvedev is working towards his fifth at the Cincinnati Open 2021. Interestingly, during his campaign, he revealed that facing Rafael Nadal in a clay-court tournament is his dream matchup in a Masters 1000 event. A daring dream, indeed.

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So far, the World No.2 has won the Canadian Masters and will be looking to continue his winning streak in Cincinnati. Given the absence of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, he is the top seed and favorite for the tournament.

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Daniil Medvedev opens up on facing Rafael Nadal on clay

The 25-year-old Medvedev expressed some remorse that he hasn’t had the opportunity to play Nadal on clay so far. While he understands the mammoth of the challenge, he believes it will be a ‘great match.’

Talking to ATPTour.com, Medvedev revealed, “I would like to play Rafa at one of the clay-court tournaments.” He then explained, “I probably, would not have many chances, but it is a great challenge to play Rafa on clay. I didn’t have this moment so far, so it would be a great match.”

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

For this challenge, Medvedev will have to wait until next year for the clay-court swing. As per his desire, he would want to face Nadal in either Monte-Carlo, Madrid, or Rome Masters events.

Many athletes on the Tour have a similar dream as Nadal on a clay court is the closest to impossible challenge in Tennis. However, with inspiration from a few who have cleared the test, the Russian, too, wants to test himself.

“I want the challenge that is almost impossible to make, but there are people who made it — people of my age — so I want to try,” Medvedev concluded.

Aug 15, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Daniil Medvedev of Russia poses with the trophy after defeating Reilly Opelka of the United States (not pictured) in the finals of the National Bank Open at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

But for now, the 2019 Cincinnati champion would be looking forward to building strong momentum for the US Open 2021. Intriguingly, it was Rafa who denied Medvedev once in the 2019 US Open finals.

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Who will Medvedev face next in Cincinnati Open 2021?

As per the draw, Medvedev will now face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the Western and Southern Open pre-quarters. Dimitrov is looking in fine form and will unquestionably trouble Medvedev.

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Above all, the athletes are preparing for the ultimate prize, the American Grand Slam. Let’s see if the Russian will travel to New York with two back-to-back Masters 1000 titles.

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Purav Joshi

1114 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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