The 35-year-old Nadal defeated 25-year-old Daniil Medvedev.
Rafael Nadal broke a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic by claiming his 21st Grand Slam title Sunday, coming back to beat Daniil Medvedev, 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5, in the 2022 Australian Open men's singles final. Nadal rallied from two sets down -- just the third comeback from 0-2 at a major for Nadal in his career and first since 2007 -- to win the marathon five-setter.
"One month and a half ago, I didn't know if I was going to be able to be back on the tour playing tennis again," Nadal said in his post-match speech. "And today, I am here in front of all of you having this trophy with me and you really don't know how much I fought to be here. I can't thank you enough for all the support that I received since I arrived here."
Nadal was sidelined with a recurring foot injury since last May, even having to undergo an operation that left him on crutches just four months ago. Then, in December 2021, Nadal suffered from a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Following Nadal's first-round victory at the 2022 Australian Open, he told Eurosport Spain: "A month and a half ago I didn't know if I would play tennis again at a professional level due to various factors, including the problems I've had with my foot and with COVID."
This was the second Grand Slam meeting for Medvedev and Nadal, who are establishing an epic intergenerational rival. The pair faced each other in another final, at the 2019 US Open, which was also a five-set match in Nadal's favor. Medvedev, 25, has a near-identical playing approach as Nadal, returning far behind the baseline and covering the court with impressive speed. On paper, Medvedev holds the advantage as a better hard court player whereas Nadal is known to be more dominant on clay court. At 6 feet, 6 inches, Medvedev also sports a massive serve and impenetrable defense.
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