Rafael Nadal makes history with Aussie Open win
After two grueling weeks, Rafael Nadal is the last man standing. After an epic five-set match that included a thrilling and gritty comeback after two sets, Nadal won the Australian Open. He beat Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5, taking advantage of Medvedev’s massive meltdown and finding energy reserves he may not even have known. have during a game that lasted five hours. and 24 mins.
With the win, Nadal becomes the first man to win 21 Grand Slams, leaving Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer still tied at 20 each.
This triumph represents a great comeback for Nadal. He has spent the past six months battling injury and illness, then had to pull himself together after what looked like an almost certain loss to Medvedev. But they don’t call him one of the greatest for nothing.
Nadal overcomes deficit, exhaustion
When the match started, it seemed clear that Medvedev could take the win. He won the first set easily, then came back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to force a tiebreaker and win. He was just one set away from glory.
But then Nadal turned it on. Just when you would expect it to begin to wilt, wear out and show its age, it got a second wind. He and Medvedev battled in the third set and then Medvedev started showing signs of stress. He started looking tired and making unusual mistakes. He got angry at the chair umpire for not being more forceful with the crowd.
Because the crowd was firmly on Nadal’s side. He didn’t take advantage and backed the chair umpire when he ordered the fans to be quiet, but Medvedev began to grow annoyed with the crowd’s constant celebration of his own mistakes. Nadal took the third set and looked like a new man – not exuberant, but lively, cunning and obviously confident he could complete the comeback.
After four hours and 12 minutes, it was a new game. Tied at two sets apiece, the final set would decide everything. It had been 15 years since Nadal came back from two sets to win, but after leveling the set 2-2, he finally took the lead at 3-2. His serve was stronger than ever, and Medvedev struggled to manage not only that, but also some of Nadal’s signature shots.
Nadal pulled out every shot, every trick, every strategy he could think of. He left it all on the pitch as Medvedev continually tried and failed to pick up the pieces of his epic meltdown. Medvedev managed to tie the last set 5-5, and it all came down to the last two games. With the last match, in which Medvedev could not score a single point, Nadal erased years and years of heartache at the Rod Laver Arena and made history with his 21st Grand Slam victory and his first title at the Australian Open since 2009, just his second ever.
Nadal’s incredible comeback
Going into the Australian Open, Nadal had no expectations. He had only played three games in the last six months. He had to end his 2021 season in disappointing fashion due to this foot injury, and also fell ill with COVID. He didn’t know how his body would react to the rigors of competition.
Nadal’s body hasn’t always played the game over the past two weeks. He was deeply affected by the dry heat in his epic five-set quarter-final against Denis Shapovalov, letting his two-set lead evaporate in a tie before coming back to claim victory. He admitted after his semi-final match against Matteo Berrettini that he was tired after two sets, but he still managed to get through and emerge victorious.
That’s why he’s one of the best to ever play. At 35 and not yet in top form, he found the power, precision, aggressiveness and energy to come back against a player 10 years his junior. He is now alone in the record books.
When he scored that final crucial point, he didn’t collapse to the ground in tears – not yet, at least. He dropped his racquet and covered his mouth, almost as if he couldn’t believe what he had done. You could see a smile appear behind his fingers, and soon he was the exuberant Rafa everyone loves to see.
He soon walked over to his team, who had hugged each other in a giant, many-armed hug, to celebrate with them. He and his father also shared a special moment.
During the ceremony, Nadal admitted he didn’t know until just six weeks ago if he could even make it to the Australian Open. He thanked the crowd, who had supported him from the first serve to the final return, for their strong and consistent support.
Once back in the locker room, he hugged his team again before literally collapsing to the ground.
A few minutes later, Nadal was sort of on his feet and cooling off on the bike. And that’s what makes him one of tennis’ true GOATs.
Speaking of tennis GOATs, longtime rival and friend Roger Federer quickly hopped on Instagram to congratulate Nadal on his historic victory.