RAFAEL NADAL has returned home to Mallorca after winning a second Australian Open crown.
Rafael Nadal made a touching gesture to a young tennis player when arriving home in Mallorca after his Australian Open triumph. The world No 5 made history as the first man ever to win a record 21st Grand Slam title when he lifted the trophy at Melbourne Park for just the second time in his career on Sunday.
Nadal rewrote history at the Australian Open as he became the first male singles player in history to lift a record 21st Major title.
The Spaniard had been tied with Federer and Djokovic on the previous record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
Arriving in Melbourne to play for the first time after a six-month injury layoff, Nadal was far from the favourite to lift the Australian Open trophy, especially having only won it once back in 2009.
He got off to a good start Down Under, winning the Melbourne ATP 250 warm-up event to open his comeback with a title win.
And the world No 5 didn’t stop there, extending his match-winning streak to ten in a row as he went on to pick up his second Australian Open crowd.
He faced a tough draw, coming through a five-set quarter-final against 14th seed Denis Shapovalov which he said left him “destroyed”, but pulled up in time to defeat top ten player and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in the semis.
Nadal then came up against the highest seed in the men’s draw and recent US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in the final.
The world No 2 got off to a fast start, and the Spaniard was staring down the barrel of the defeat after going two sets and 2-3 0-40 down but somehow managed to mount an epic comeback for the first time in a Grand Slam final, winning the next three sets in a five hour and 24 minute marathon.
Not only did the victory make Nadal the sole record-holder of the most men’s singles Grand Slam titles in history, he also joined an elite group of just three other male players who has won ever Major at least twice – Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson.
The newly-crowned Aussie Open champion has since returned home to Mallorca, and one woman took the opportunity to get a memento for her tennis-playing daughter when seeing Nadal in Palma Airport.
A video on social media shows the 21-time Major champion wheeling his bags through the airport after landing back home, as a woman who appears to work there runs up to him.
One fan has translated the encounter and said the woman tells Nadal that she has a disabled daughter “who plays tennis and feels very motivated.”
Nadal can be heard asking for her name, but instead of just signing an autograph decides to stop and write some words for the woman’s daughter.
He’s then seen wheeling his bags out to the car park and calling someone before walking over to a car, loading his things into the boot and getting in.
The world No 5 is next set to play the Acapulco ATP 500 later this month but has admitted he may withdraw from both the Mexican tournament and the Miami Open at the end of March, potentially only competing in Indian Wells before the clay swing.