In-form Daniil Medvedev is being touted as one of the favourites to win the Indian Wells Masters title in 2023, but the Russian star has already set his sights on the clay court season. He is willing to experience his biggest challenge on red clay, but admitted he fears facing Rafael Nadal on clay in the coming months.
Rafael Nadal, who is sitting out Indian Wells and the Miami Masters to prepare for the clay court season, has not played since his 2nd round exit at the Australian Open due to injury. However, few would rule out his chances of doing well on clay and winning another French Open crown. Nadal has lost only 45 of 519 matches on red clay.
Nadal is expected to return to the Monte Carlo Masters in April, giving himself plenty of time to prepare for Roland Garros in May. “I haven't played Rafa on clay. Rafa on clay is probably the worst and best challenge in tennis,” said Medvedev.
“When I say 'worst,' is it because he lost, what, I don't know, 10 matches? I'm not even sure if he lost 10. I mean, he lost a little more in years past in tournaments like Rome and Monte-Carlo. But yeah, I'll be honest, I'm scared to play Rafa on clay. In a way, I want to try, and I'm definitely going to fight for the win, but it must be scary going out there against Rafa on clay.
“Novak, I managed to beat him a couple of times. But then again, these are two guys who have 22 Grand Slams. Yeah, I'd say, you know what? Novak in Australia is tough,” he added. Medvedev has faced Nadal 6 times, and all of their meetings have taken place on hard courts. The Russian has only won one of their meetings, which came at the 2020 ATP Finals.
Ranked No. 6 in the ATP singles rankings, Medvedev opened his Indian Wells campaign with a straight sets victory over Brandan Nakashima. The star player has been in royal form on the hard courts, completing a hat-trick of titles, including Dubai, Doha, and Rotterdam.