Rafael Nadal wins the Australian Open for a record 21st Grand Slam title
Melbourne, Australia – Rafael Nadal finished first in 21st place, breaking the men’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles, and went the hard way by coming back in two sets to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a nearly 5 1/2 hour run to beat the Australian Open final, which didn’t end until the early hours of Monday morning.
He was broken serving in the fifth set 5-4 for the championship but didn’t go wrong 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 Spaniard now has one more than Roger Federer and Djokovic, his long-time rivals in the so-called Big Three.
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 pitch, so did Nadal just became the fourth man in history to win all four of the sport’s major titles at least twice.
Nadal won his maiden Australian Open title in 2009 and lost four more finals at Melbourne Park before dramatically defeating 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 win was even more remarkable considering Nadal flew to Australia in the second half of 2021 with just two games under his belt, sidelined with a chronic foot injury that can be treated but not cured. He also had a bout of COVID-19.
Medvedev, who was aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the next Major, pushed Nadal to go the distance and win by two sets. Medvedev now joins Andy Murray among those who lost the final at the next major tournament after breaking through at the highest level.
It was only the fourth time Nadal had recovered from two sets down to win a best-of-five-set match and the first since a fourth-round win over Mikhail Youzhny at Wimbledon in 2007.