Last year, Rafael Nadal had to deal with Daniil Medvedev on more than one occasion in the second half of the season. At the 2019 US Open, Nadal lost only one set (against Marin Čilić) en route to the final, which he won against Daniil Medvedev in five sets.
In doing so, Nadal claimed his fourth US Open title and 19th Grand Slam title (placing him only one behind Roger Federer in overall standings). At the 2019 ATP Finals, Nadal played in the Andre Agassi group and defeated Tsitsipas and Medvedev in the round-robin stage, but it was not enough to progress to the semifinals.
During an interview with Eurosport’s Players’ Cut, Nadal's current coach Carlos Moya explained how difficult is it for someone like Rafa to play Daniil Medvedev: “He is like a wall. You’re not used to playing guys like him that stay away from the baseline and a tall guy running.
I mean, he’s such a good athlete and it’s very difficult to outpower him. I think you have to change the pace, alternate a bit, play low balls, high balls. Make him move forward a little bit, slice. Try to mix it up very well, because if you just play hard and try to make winners, he’s a very tough player to beat.
So, what I mean when I said that he changed his game in my opinion, is that he came to volley. After he was two sets down, he started to serve and volley, to go for his shots, try to shorten the points. I think that worked for him.
In the 5th set, he was 1/0 15-40, if I’m not wrong. So, I don’t know what could have happened if Rafa could not hold his serve then. But yeah, he took us by surprise after those 2 sets to zero down. He changed his tactics and that shows how good he is”.