Rafael Nadal’s victory at the Australian Open 2022 left everyone speechless. The Spanish star bent Daniil Medvedev in the final with the score of 2-6 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-4 7-5 after more than five hours of intense battle, forfeiting his second title at Melbourne Park.
Thanks to this success, the former world number 1 won his 21st Major, overtaking Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings. The Majorcan became the fourth man in history to have conquered all the majors at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).
Rafa will try to reach 22 already at Roland Garros, waiting to understand if Djokovic will be present or not in Paris. The Serbian’s choice not to get vaccinated could affect his entire season, given the recent news from France and the United States.
The 34-year-old from Belgrade was expelled from Australia the day before the Happy Slam began. At a press conference in Montpellier, Gilles Simon expressed his opinion on Rafa’s ‘Down Under’ triumph.
Simon opens up on Rafa Nadal
“What Daniil went through against Rafael Nadal, we, during our careers, we tried to explain it sometimes, which we were blamed for because it sounded like an excuse: it’s hard to win,” he was quoted as saying by L’Equipe.
“On Sunday, I saw a Rafa who played 75% or even 70% of what he was playing before. And that’s enough to dominate a Daniil who is almost the best player in the world on hard court at the moment when Novak is not there.
You tell yourself that it’s his margin, in fact,” he added. The 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win helped Nadal break away from the tie he held with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and become the first man to reach 21 Slams.
This was the first time in 15 years that the former World No. 1 came back to win a match from two sets down. With the win, he became just the second man after Djokovic in the Open Era to win the set of four Slams twice. Recently, former British tennis player Greg Rusedski analyzed the details of Nadal’s win and felt that the 35-year-old superstar has done the unthinkable.
A few months ago, Rafa was on crutches and was doubtful about whether he would be able to compete in Melbourne. Nadal managed to win a warm-up title in the build-up to the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, and didn’t drop a single set throughout the tournament.
That win surely boosted his morale and made him believe in himself that he can yet win titles on the biggest of stages. The 1997 US Open finalist stated, “He is a genetic freak of nature and also, his mental fortitude is second to none. If you wanted one guy playing for your life for one match, he is your man”.