Tennis-Medvedev relishing potential clashes with Djokovic, Nadal

ADELAIDE (Reuters) – Daniil Medvedev believes it is a privilege to be able to test himself against Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, with the former world number one saying on Friday he would relish meeting the duo at the Australian Open.

Medvedev lost to 21-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic in the Australian Open final two years ago, before falling to 22-times major winner Nadal in a marathon Melbourne Park title clash 12 months ago.

“Playing against Rafa and Novak is a privilege,” Medvedev told reporters in Adelaide, where he could face Djokovic in the semi-finals of the ATP 250 tournament on Saturday if the Serb beats Denis Shapovalov.

“I’m disappointed that when I started to play better, went into the top 10, I didn’t manage to play Roger Federer because I lost to him three times (before that).

“I was already not bad, but I was not where I am right now. I still have the chance to play Rafa and Novak, and every time I have this chance, I want to win. I want to try to do my best.

“I had some tough losses against both of them, but the only slam I won was against Novak and it was great. I’m happy to play against them.”

Medvedev beat Djokovic to claim his maiden major at the U.S. Open in 2021, but said playing him in Australia was a completely different challenge.

“In Australia we’ve played three times… I’m not going to touch too much on this but I lost all of them,” Medvedev said. “It’s a challenge to play Novak in Australia.

“Maybe it can be easier in Adelaide than Melbourne, you never know, but it’s a challenge and it’s a great test before the Australian Open to play one of the best ones and probably the best player ever in terms of Australian tennis.”

The Australian Open begins on Jan. 16.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)