Rafael Nadal will not compete at Roland Garros and is taking some months away from tennis
Rafael Nadal is set to play at the Brisbane International next month | Photo: AFP AFP News

Former World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev has admitted he has found it tougher to defeat Rafael Nadal in his career in comparison to Novak Djokovic.

Nadal is set to make a comeback at the Brisbane International next month after spending almost a year out due to injuries.

One of the best players of this generation, Medvedev is among the few elite players who have established themselves as genuine challengers for big trophies. While many expect Nadal to push for at least one more Grand Slam, he and Medvedev could cross paths again soon.

Medvedev has a respectable record against Djokovic on the ATP Tour, with the Russian star winning five of their 15 meetings. Those wins include a win in a Grand Slam final, with Medvedev besting the current World No. 1 in the 2021 US Open final.

Meanwhile, Medvedev, currently ranked third in the ATP, has managed just one victory against Nadal, having faced the Spaniard six times in total. The last time these two played each other, Nadal beat Medvedev in the semi-finals of the ATP 500 Mexican Open in Acapulco.

Nadal is eyeing to play in the Australian Open next month. He will also be unseeded, meaning he will be in the same quarter of the draw as one of the top four seeds. That means Nadal could come face-to-face with Medvedev early on.

If that happens, Medvedev will not take the fixture lightly, especially since he has found Nadal a tougher opponent than the outstanding Djokovic.

"It's kind of the same with Novak. It's just that in all the seasons that he played, he wins a lot of matches and didn't lose many. It's very tough to beat him.

"Actually with Rafa maybe I 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," Medvedev told The National.

Medvedev went on to add that if he does face Nadal at the Australian Open, it would be a "great challenge". One of the biggest talking points of the upcoming Australian Open will be Nadal's return, with no one knowing what to expect from the 22-time Grand Slam winner.

"I don't know at the moment his shape, no one knows, and how he's going to handle it. But from what I saw, he seems to be doing good and that's great for tennis," the World No. 3 added.

Australian Open 2024 is scheduled to go underway on Jan. 24.