In the end, it was the Spanish Rafael Nadal, who made history winning a record 21 Grand Slams at the just concluded Australian Opens. Three weeks earlier, that honour was projected for Novak Djokovic, who unfortunately was embroiled in the COVID vaccination brouhaha forcing his deportation back home. That incident and a few other unforced errors would cast a dark cloud over the tournament.
Nadal had a hard-fought win over Daniil Medvedev in the final at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Sunday. The Russian Medvedev, 10 years younger than Nadal, might have seen himself as a giant slayer after he prevented Djokovic from reaching his 21 Grand Slams in New York three months earlier and leading Nadal two sets up.
The 35-year-old came from near defeat of two sets down to win the five-set thriller 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Nadal sealed victory after five hours of play, claiming an unlikely win against the in-form Medvedev. Nadal’s victory sees him claim his 21st Grand Slam titles, surpassing both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the men’s tennis player with the most Grand Slam titles.
The player, who did not win any Grand Slam title in 2021, almost quit the tennis tournament due to foot injury. The Real Madrid fan has now won the Australian Open twice and has claimed all four of the major tournaments at least twice. Medvedev has, however, lost two consecutive Australian Open finals on his fourth major final.
He put together a five-game winning sequence and raced to a two-set lead in commanding fashion before Nadal fought back in the third set to kick-start the comeback.
Despite Medvedev’s best efforts to stop history, Nadal would not be denied, serving out the match and was motionless with beaming smiles after completing the remarkable feat.