Daniil Medvedev will definitely take the crown of the best men’s player in the world from Novak Djokovic, 21-time Slam champion Rafael Nadal believes.
The man that Nadal defeated to land the 2022 Australian Open has the chance to take the top spot this week depending on his results in Acapulco and those of Djokovic in Dubai.
The world number two is the top seed in Mexico as he returns for his first play since Melbourne, with a title in Acapulco the best way for him to guarantee that he is world number one next week.
“It’s obvious that sooner or later it’s going to happen,” Nadal told the ATP ahead of his participation in Acapulco.
“Novak [Djokovic] is 34, 35 this year, I am 36, Roger [Federer] is 40.
“The watch never stops, that’s the circle of life, the younger generation is coming and is going to [overtake us] in the rankings because we can’t afford [to play] a 100% full calendar and because they are very good.
“Daniil [Medvedev] is a very solid player, he is having an amazing career and he deserves to be fighting for number one without a doubt.
“So, I wish him all the best.”
Nadal’s words echo those of Djokovic himself, who said that should Medvedev overtake him this week he would be the first to congratulate the Russian.
Nadal is seeded fourth in Acapulco behind Medvedev, defending champion Alexander Zverev and world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, all three of whom are more than nine years younger than the Spaniard.
The 35-year-old is a three-time champion at the event, having won it twice on clay in 2005 and 2013, and once in 2020 after the tournament transitioned to hard courts from 2014 onwards.