Rafael Nadal praises Daniil Medvedev: 'He deserves to fight for No. 1 spot'

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Rafael Nadal praises Daniil Medvedev: 'He deserves to fight for No. 1 spot'

Since February 2004, only four players have conquered the ATP throne and written their names in tennis history as world no. 1 players. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have successfully kept the younger rivals behind them, and the Serb has been a player to beat in the last two years.

Novak is the record-holder with 361 weeks as world no. 1, although his streak could end this week. World no. 2 Daniil Medvedev has a chance to pass the Serb and claim the ATP throne for the first time in his career, with two great rivals seeking titles and ATP points in different parts of the world.

If he wins the Acapulco crown, Daniil will become world no. 1 regardless of Novak's result in Dubai. The Russian was two games away from securing the second consecutive Major title at the Australian Open and passing the Serb on the throne.

Daniil led 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 against Rafael Nadal in the Melbourne Park title clash before the Spaniard performed a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win in five hours and 24 minutes, prevailing in the second-longest Major final in history.

Medvedev had everything in his hands, forging a massive advantage after a nice turnaround in the second set and creating three break chances in the third set's sixth game.

Daniil Medvedev has a chance to become world no.

1 this week.

Nadal saved them and raised his level, claiming sets three and four and building the advantage in the decider. Daniil broke back to level the score at 5-5, only to lose the next two games and hand the trophy to the Spaniard.

Rafa praised Daniil ahead of their possible semi-final clash in Acapulco, saying he deserves to fight for world no. 1 spot and predicting he would take that honor sooner or later. At 35, 36, and 40, Nadal understands that Novak Djokovic, he and Roger Federer can not play at 100% for the entire season and that young guns want to take their ranking positions.

"Daniil Medvedev will become world no. 1 sooner or later; that's obvious. Novak turns 35 this year, I'm turning 36, and Roger is 40. The clock never stops, and that's the circle of life. Young generations are coming, and they seek high ranking positions, which is normal.

We can not afford to play the entire calendar at 100%, and our younger opponents are excellent. Daniil is a very solid player; he is having a fantastic career. He deserves to fight for the no. 1 spot, and I wish him all the best," Rafael Nadal said.