Rafael Nadal Pulls Off The Ultimate Comeback To Win The 2022 Australian Open

The Spaniard beat Daniil Medvedev in an instant classic to claim his 21st Grand Slam title
15:25, 30 Jan 2022

Rafael Nadal produced an astonishing comeback to secure the most improbable victory of his career and win the Australian Open for a second time.

The Spaniard enthralled a captivated audience and stunned a shell-shocked Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 7-5 to claim an historic 21st major title. He could scarcely believe the scale of his achievement, but after over five hours of unscripted drama, he overturned a two set deficit for the first time in 15 years.

Nadal’s pent-up emotions from a topsy-turvy duel came to the surface following his winning moment - and he sent his supporters, team and family into raptures. The endless consultations and the painstaking rehabilitation process he endured last year had paid dividends, and he has become just the second man in the Open era to win every major twice.

After a breathless encounter, Nadal said during the trophy ceremony: “If I am being honest, one month and a half ago I did not know if I would be back on tour playing tennis again. Today I am here in front of you with this trophy.”

The Spaniard beamed as he held the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup aloft for the first time in 13 years. As millions watched the ceremony unfold, Novak Djokovic will have been distracted, likely preoccupied with his thoughts.

The Serbian’s deportation left the door ajar for a new champion to emerge and end his stronghold - but it was a familiar face that capitalised on his dispute with the Australian authorities. He has spent the entirety of his career attempting to surpass his fiercest foes, and is once again scrambling for scoreboard parity.

Nadal’s performance encapsulated his remarkable career. From the brink of defeat he summoned an almighty response, and he pounced on the first sign of weakness from his opponent and carried the momentum to the finishing line.

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Medvedev established a two set advantage, but lost control in the third set. As Nadal increased the venom in his forehands, the Russian became agitated and irritable - and it wasn’t long until he was chirping at the umpire about excitable spectators.

Nadal gained control of the baseline exchanges, and his opponent began taking greater risks due to a fear of a bout of cramp. He was struggling physically, and despite competing for every ball, he could not prevent the Spaniard from taking the third and fourth sets and forcing a decider.

The former world No.1 continued with his attacking policy in the shootout. The winners pinged off his strings with regularity, and his shotmaking was of the highest quality. The Spaniard squandered his first chance to serve out the match, but he wasn’t to be denied for long.

As Nadal tried to comprehend the scale of his achievement, a crestfallen Medvedev was left to reflect on what might have been. He was in control and looked certain to secure a second major title, but a third set wobble proved costly. It will take him some time to overcome his disappointment, but he is in the peak of his career and further silverware is unlikely to be too far away.

The champion will enjoy his Monday morning celebrations in Melbourne, and he will soon be heading to Roland Garros in search of No.22 – and nobody enjoys Paris in the springtime quite like Nadal.

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