US Open: 'He actually didn't lose in a Grand Slam this year' - Medvedev puts pressure on Nadal

·2-min read

US Open reigning champion and top seed Daniil Medvedev has put the pressure on 22-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal who he believes is the frontrunner for the Flushing Meadows title.

Medvedev endured a 10pm start time playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium after Serena Williams' three-set win over Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday evening to defeat Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes in the second round.

The Russian was not happy with his level early in Wednesday's match, admitting he did not adjust seamlessly to the late start time, but said he worked into it.

The win books a third-round clash with Chinese qualifier Wu Yibing but Medvedev was pressed on the favourites for the men's singles title in the absence of Novak Djokovic this year.

Medvedev claimed his maiden major at last year's US Open with victory over Djokovic in the final, while he lost to Nadal in a memorable five-set Australian Open decider earlier this year.

"First of all, I don't want to put pressure on anybody, but I think Rafa is a big favourite also," Medvedev told reporters.

"He won the last time he played here against me actually. He won two slams this year. I think Novak is better on grass, but Rafa didn't play.

"He actually didn't lose in a Grand Slam this year. He retired [in the Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios], which is not the same.

"In my opinion Rafa is big, let's call it like this, I don't want to say favourite, big favourite, he's definitely big figure in this tournament.

"Then for sure there are many other good guys. I'm happy to see my name sometimes in the odds or something like this because I'm like, that's great. That means that I play some good tennis.

"Being amongst the favorites just brings me more motivation to try to do well."

Medvedev compared his 2022 form in New York (he beat Stefan Kozlov in the first round in straight sets) to last year's when he won the title, admitting he did not feel he was going as well as 12 months ago at this stage.

"These two matches felt a little bit less good comparing to last year, but at the same time I know I already played a lot of Grand Slams," he said.

"That's not the most important. The most important is to win, to stay in the tournament, to try to get as far as possible, for sure try to raise your level when the opponents go stronger and stronger.

"Finally you're going to play somebody who has a Grand Slam or something like this."