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Rafael Nadal scoops 21st Grand Slam after beating Daniil Medvedev in Australian Open final

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Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal wins Australian Open. Photo/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal came back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a memorable Australian Open final, winning him a record-setting 21st major trophy.

A boisterous audience at Rod Laver Arena helped sixth seed Nadal rally for a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win.

Medvedev was aiming for a second successive major championship.

After Medvedev took the lead in the first set, Nadal fought back with all of his well-known tenacity and determination to win the match.

The 35-year-old Spaniard has been at the centre of some of the most stunning triumphs in tennis history. But this definitely ranks as the greatest Grand Slam victory of his lengthy tenure.

When Nadal suffered a foot injury in late 2016, it appeared as though he may never return to the tour.

Nadal gained ground on his competitors in the quest to win the most major singles championships by beating Djokovic, who was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open, and Roger Federer, who was sidelined due to injury in Melbourne.

For the second time in his career, a left-hander has won an Australian Open title. Surprisingly, Nadal previously lost in the Australian Open.

Speaking post-match, Nadal describes this victory as emotional.

“Without a doubt it is one of the most emotional wins of my career,” he said.

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. Photo/Sky Sports

How Did  Rafael Nadal Beat Daniil Medvedev?

The Australian Open was his second competitive event in five months, after winning a warm-up competition at Melbourne Park earlier in January despite these setbacks.

Nadal beat Medvedev in five hours and 24 minutes after the Russian couldn’t return a net volley on the first of the Spaniard’s three match points at 01:11 local time in Melbourne.

Nadal’s excitement was evident in the ferocity of his victory celebration, which he had overcome both on the night of the match and in the months leading up to it.

Nadal has only won three matches from two sets down in his career, the most recent of which was against Mikhail Youzhny at Wimbledon in 2007.

At the end of what was the second-longest Grand Slam final in the tournament’s history, Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4.

A chair was brought out for Nadal so he could sit down rather than stand as the trophy

Medvedev had a two-set lead and appeared to be on his way to a repeat success at Melbourne Park after his triumph in New York.

When Nadal’s backhand groundstrokes were lacking fluency, Medvedev took five games in a row to clinch the opening set, Nadal throwing another backhand into the net, the Spanish left-16th hander’s unforced error in comparison to only five for his Russian opponent.

Versus further demonstrate his superiority, the younger man won 31 of the overall points, to Nadal’s 17 in the final.

Despite the fact that all the odds were stacked in Medvedev’s favor going into the second set, Nadal came out on top, 3-2.

After a 40-shot rally concluded in Nadal’s favor with an angled backhand winner, the Spaniard earned his first break point of the match when Medvedev made an unforced error.

As he surged 4-1 up, Nadal suddenly appeared to have a spring in his stride and the audience began to become louder.

A string of three breaks of serve followed, culminating in a stunning ninth game that surprised the spectators at the Rod Laver Arena.

During the match, Nadal had a set point, Medvedev had five breakpoints, and the match was delayed when a protester ran onto the court before being hauled away by security.

Medvedev prevailed in the tie-break, and it was unlikely that Nadal, who was already exhausted and sweating heavily, would be able to fight back.

In the sixth game of the third set, Rafael Nadal fought off three break points as he faced a two-set deficit and a breakpoint deficit.

Both players held serve until the ninth game of the match, when Nadal, who had begun to show signs of an indomitable spirit, pounced.

When Medvedev tried to prod over a volley and instead hit it into the net, perhaps because the finish line was in sight, he lost his focus.

Medvedev answered with a snarky racquet clap to the roars of the audience. The pro-Nadal crowd erupted when the Spaniard broke and served out the set to love.

During a nail-biting fourth set, which saw 15 break points, Nadal saved two of his 10 chances to force a fifth set.

During his service points, Medvedev became increasingly enraged by the cheers for Nadal and the commotion that accompanied them, leading umpire John Blom to constantly urge for calm.

Nadal now appeared to have the mental fortitude to complete the task at hand.

To tie the match at 3-3 he broke again, but he faltered while serving for the match at 5-4, only to break again and lead 6-5 before serving out the match.

“I’m sure my wife is watching at home, but I guess the TV will be broken now,” Medvedev quipped in his on-court remarks.

Why Did Rafael Nadal Consider Quitting Tennis?

Rafael Nadal Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal Australian Open. Photo/Eurosport

Just recently, Nadal confessed that he pondered about quitting tennis after suffering from injuries last year.

He says he had discussions on this with members of his staff and family during the worst days of his six-month injury hiatus in 2021.

According to The Guardian, the foot injury drained his hope in tennis all Nadal saw was dark days and impossibilities.

“I went through a lot of challenging moments, a lot of days of hard work without seeing a light there,” noted Nadal.

However, the 35-year-old attributes his stay in the game to support and encouragement by his team.

“But still working and still receiving plenty of support from my team and from my family, too, without a doubt. A lot of conversations with the team, with the family about what can happen or what’s going to happen if the things continue like this, thinking that maybe is a chance to say goodbye,” he said.

In the final seven months of 2021, chronic pain in Rafael Nadal’s left foot limited him to just one tournament, and a coronavirus infection in mid-December left him “quite unwell with fever.”

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