Rafael Nadal – 1st Man to win 21 Grand Slam Titles
Nadal stood alone in the record book with 21 career Grand Slam men’s singles titles, one more than his rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Insight Bureau: The Spanish Tennis star Rafael Nadal shook his head, as if in disbelief. Then he moved to the net to shake the hand of his opponent, Daniil Medvedev, and it was then that it seemed to sink in. Nadal stood alone in the record book with 21 career Grand Slam men’s singles titles, one more than his rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Rafael Nadal completed one of the epic comebacks of his storied career in the 2022 Australian Open men’s singles final, coming back from two sets down to defeat reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.
Suddenly, Nadal punched the air like a prizefighter, flexing his arms like a bodybuilder, pumping his fists overhead, then dropping to his knees as tears flowed.
Nadal’s five-hour-and-24-minute triumph, after being down by two sets, thrilled a raucous crowd on a warm Sunday night at Rod Laver Arena. It came just a day after Ashleigh Barty of Australia won the women’s singles title, the first home court win at the Australian Open in 44 years.
Nadal appeared to have rattled the cage when he jumped to a 4-1 lead, but the relentless Russian pulled one back with a break in the seventh. Nadal struck again in the eighth, that gave him a 5-3 edge.
Medvedev continued to be irritated by the support being given to Nadal, and the frequent noise during his service points, prompting umpire John Blom to repeatedly ask for calm.
Medvedev, who lost last year’s final to Djokovic, was aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the next major event after his maiden triumph.
Being confined to bed with Covid for a couple of days just before Christmas had appeared to signal the end of Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open aspirations.
The two matches he had played in Abu Dhabi before testing positive were encouraging, but the 35-year-old was so far behind in his preparations because of his foot injury.
Nadal has had problems with a bone in the bridge of his foot since he was a teenager, and he only played two matches in the second half of 2021.
“It has been one of the most emotional matches in my tennis career and to share the court with you [Medvedev] was an honor,” Nadal said in his on court interview. “I don’t even know what to say, guys, for me it’s just amazing”, he added.
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