Daniil Medvedev makes a clear decision between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Medvedev says who he thinks is tougher to play: Djokovic or Nadal.

AARON FRANCIS/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Daniil Medvedev is clearly one of the top four players in men's tennis currently. While we do not have a true Big 4 as we did in the early 2010s with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray, there is also no doubt that Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, and Medvedev are consistently better than any other player on the ATP tour. Yet, Djokovic still keeps winning more Grand Slams than anyone else and one would think he is clearly the roughest player to play.

But Daniil Medvedev says not so fast on that seemingly easy answer. The Russian has played the Serbian 15 times and beaten him in five of those matches. This includes Medvedev defeating Djokovic in the final of the 2021 US Open. Maybe beating Djokovic 33 percent of the time he plays the ATP number 1 has given Medvedev a bit more confidence than most other players have.

But Medvedev has less confidence when it comes time for him to play Rafael Nadal. Medvedev recently told The National that Rafael Nadal is harder to beat than Novak Djokovic. This is based on how much success Medvedev has had individually against the two all-time greats.

Medvedev implies he would rather face Djokovic than Nadal

According the Medvedev, "...with Rafa maybe I even had even less success than with Novak in a way. But we had some tight matches where I felt like I could win and maybe he got the edge in the end. So, for me, it’s going to be a great challenge if I have to face him. I don’t know at the moment his shape, no one knows, and how he’s going to handle."

Of course, that will be the key with Rafael Nadal moving forward. He has not played since January 2023 after injuring his hip in the second round of the Australian Open. After taking some months off to rehab the injury in hopes it would get better, Nadal had surgery this past summer after rehab did not help. He will return at next week's Brisbane International as a warmup to the Australian Open which begins on January 14.

Nadal will go into the first Grand Slam of the year unseeded. This could mean he faces the three-seed Medvedev early in the major. While Daniil Medvedev says Rafael Nadal is tougher to play than Novak Djokovic, Medvedev will likely not have any fear in trying to take his second win in seven matches against Nadal.

Read more from Lob and Smash

manual