Rafael Nadal combated Daniil Medvedev’s power serves with drop-shot finesse, staging a comeback victory in a long 2022 Australian Open men’s singles final, which started Sunday and ended early Monday in Melbourne.
The victory gave Nadal his 21st Grand Slam singles title and set a record for the most major singles titles in men’s tennis history. Nadal, 35, entered the match tied for the most titles with Roger Federer of Switzerland and Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
“This was one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career,” Nadal said in his on-court interview.
“I don’t know what to say. For me, it’s just amazing. I didn’t know if I’d be back on the tour playing tennis again [due to a foot injury]. I can’t thank [fans] enough for all the support I’ve received.”
The sixth-seeded Spaniard poked a backhand return away from Medvedev to end the five-hour, 24-minute thriller at Rod Laver Arena. That match was the second-longest major final in men’s tennis history, trailing only a Nadal-Djokovic final from the 2012 Australian Open.
“What he did today was amazing,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I tried just to play tennis, but after the match I asked him if he was tired.”
Medvedev, the No. 2 seed from Russia, won the first two sets 6-2, 7-6(5) before Nadal snatched momentum. The Spaniard tied the match with consecutive 6-4, 6-4 set victories to force a fifth set, which he won 7-5.