Nadal Clinches Record 21st Grand Slam Title

Rafael Nadal won a record 21st Grand Slam title in epic fashion as he came from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set Australian Open final thriller.

The Spaniard had only won one Australian Open title in his career – 13 years ago – and this may just be remembered as his finest achievement to date.

Last year Nadal feared his career may even be over after chronic pains in his right foot restricted him to just one tournament in the final seven months of 2021. And then Covid struck before Christmas leaving him “very sick with fever”.

The 35-year-old dug deep to beat Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5, becoming the first player in the Open era to win the Australian Open final from two sets down. The five hours and 24 minutes it took to do so made it the second longest Grand Slam final in history.

“If you put everything together, it has probably been the biggest comeback of my tennis career,” he said.

“For the last six months, I really fought a lot to try to be back on court.

“There have been very, very tough moments. There have been conversations, tough ones, because you don’t know if I was going to have the chance to be back on the tour.”

Nadal nudged in front of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic who have both won 20 Grand Slam titles, but insisted he didn’t care about the new record.

“Of course, for me it’s amazing to achieve another Grand Slam at this moment of my career. Of course, I know it’s a special number, 21,” he continued.

“I know the big significance of this title. I feel lucky to achieve one more very special thing in my tennis career.

“But I don’t care much if I am the best in history, one of the best in history, or not the best in history. Honestly, I don’t care much.”

Djokovic congratulated Nadal on his “amazing achievement” and “impressive fighting spirit”, while Federer offered his “heartfelt congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles titles”.

The Swiss player added: “A few months ago we were joking about both being on crutches, amazing. Never underestimate a great champion.”

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