Nadal beats Medvedev in epic Australian Open final, claims 21st slam
GOAT: Rafael Nadal poses with the Australian Open trophy | Photo: #AustralianOpen

Nadal beats Medvedev in epic Australian Open final, claims 21st slam

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Rafael Nadal won a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title in the most stunning fashion, fighting back from two sets down to beat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in an Australian Open final that will be remembered for years to come.

The Spaniard was broken when serving for the championship at 5-4 in the fifth set but made no mistake the next time. At 5 hours and 24 minutes, it was the second longest Australian Open final after Novak Djokovic beat Nadal in five sets in 5 hours and 53 minutes in 2012. 

The 35-year-old now has one more than Roger Federer and Djokovic. With the 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win that started Sunday night and was delayed for a while in the second set when a protester jumped onto the court, Nadal also became just the fourth man to win all four of the major titles at least twice. 

Nadal won his first Australian Open title in 2009 and lost four other finals at Melbourne Park before his win over current US Open champion Medvedev. 

His conversation rate in major finals is now 21 out of 29. Federer and Djokovic each have 20 majors from 31 finals appearances. His victory was even more remarkable considering a few months ago Nadal thought he would never be able to return to the tour because of a foot injury. If that wasn’t enough, he also had to overcome a bout of COVID a few months ago.

Medvedev, who was aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the very next major, made Nadal go the distance and win from two-sets down. Medvedev now joins Andy Murray among those who’ve lost the final at the next major tournament after their career breakthrough at the highest level. It was just the fourth time Nadal has rallied from two sets down to win a best-of-five-set match, and the first since a fourth-round victory in 2007 at Wimbledon over Mikhail Youzhny.

Nadal Quotations in Full at the Victory Podium

“Good evening everyone … good evening or good morning, at least.

“First of all I know it’s a tough moment, Daniil, you are an amazing champion, I’ve been in this position a couple of times in this tournament, having chances to have the trophy with me, but I don’t have any doubt that you have this trophy a couple of times in your career, because you’re amazing, so I want to congratulate you.

“It was one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career and to share a court with you is just an honour, so all the best in the future.

“[Addressing the crowd] I even don’t know what to say guys. For me, it’s just amazing, being honest, one month and a half ago, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be back on the tour playing tennis again. And today I’m here in front of all you with this trophy with me, and you don’t know how much I’ve fought to be here. I can’t thank you enough for all the support I’ve had since I arrived here, you are just amazing.”

“Without a doubt it’s been one of the most emotional moments in my tennis career. Having the huge support that I received, during the three weeks is just going to stay in my heart for the rest of my life, so many, many thanks.”

“I honestly can’t thank enough all the guys that are there – all the team, all the family, the part of the family and the team that are not here … You know how hard the last year and a half has been. In the low moments, you have been there every single moment to support, and without you, guys, nothing of this would be possible, so thank you very much for everything.

“I don’t want to forget anyone, all the volunteers, everybody who made possible this amazing event, all the sponsors, Kia, that is my personal sponsor since I started playing tennis, thank you very much for supporting tennis.

“Thanks so much to Tennis Australia, these have been very tough times to organise tennis tournaments, the last two years especially, you’ve been doing an amazing job. Craig [Tiley], I know how tough it was for you and for all your team. But you are great, you’re always supporting tennis and all the players in general. I wish you all the very best and I can’t thank you enough for all the support we have from you.

“One month and a half ago I said maybe there was a chance that’s going to be my last Australian Open … but now that’s plenty of energy to keep going, so thank you very much! I really can’t explain the feelings that I have right now, but I’m going to keep trying my best to keep coming, next year, thank you very very much and see you soon.”

Medvedev’s Quotations

“Tough to talk, after five hours-thirty, and losing … I want to congratulate Rafa because what you did today, I was amazed … During the match I tried just to play tennis, but after the match, I just, you know, asked him – “Are you tired?” [Laughs].

“I was insane. The level was very high … you raised your level after two sets for the 21st grand slam … I thought you were going to get tired, and maybe you did just a little, but still won the match. So, you are an amazing champion. I think you guys [Nadal, Djokovic and Federer] have a good rivalry, still, it’s not over yet. Congrats, it was unbelievable, and congrats to your team, of course.

“Then I want to thank two guys in my box … they were here all week … thanks for sharing this tough moment with me. But, you know, we tried out best, and hopefully we can have more victories to come. Usually there is my wife is in the box, yeah, I think probably the TV is broken right now … She is my biggest support so I want to thank her also. My team … thanks a lot guys from being me.

“To my sisters, my parents, I love you all, if you are still watching, I want to thank you for your support, and I’m going to try to be better next time.

“I want to thank Tennis Australia and especially Craig, tournament directore is a tough job, and this year, I don’t know, you will tell me if it was the toughest in your career? But I think you’re an amazing tournament director and I hope you stay for at least 15 years or maybe 10 years …

“Last but not least, I just wanted to thank my team again, thank you guys.”

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