brutal, unbelievable. The heart to a thousand. Adrenalin maximum. Passion and agony. How to explain? After five and a half hours what seemed impossible has become reality Rafael Nadal to conquer your 21 Grand Slam in a titanic and epic final that will remain for the Tennis history. A new miracle to turn around a match that seemed to have been lost when he was dominated by two sets against Daniil Medvedev. Once again, the former number 1 rescued the epic of overcoming, of never giving up, to turn around a score to take, “the most important victory of my life”, he assured after winning by 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5.
At 35 years old, after leaving six months injured, without knowing if he would play tennis again, Nadal became the ‘King of kings’ to break the record of 20 Grand Slams that he shared with Roger Federer y Novak Djokovic. “It’s an animal”, he had defined it John McEnroe and he demonstrated it on the track, prevailing in an epic battle, as if he were 22 years old, when in this same Rod Laver Arena, he bit the Norman Brockers Cup for the first time by beating in another epic final, the very Federer , also in five sets, by 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6 and 6-2.
Nadal He couldn’t believe what he had just done. He covered his face in disbelief, looking at his box that exploded with joy to celebrate his success. “Everything seemed impossible,” said his uncle Tony Nadal at Eurosport. “I believed in his victory, but today was a miracle. Three days before leaving Australia, he didn’t know if he would go to Melbourne. It was to compete but without conviction about his possibilities. We are all amazed,” he said happily.
Another chapter is written 🏆@RafaelNadal defeats Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 7-5 to win his second #AusOpen title in an epic lasting five hours and 24 minutes.
🎥: @wwos • @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennis #AO2022 pic.twitter.com/OlMvhlGe6r
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2022
The beginning was not optimistic. The ‘win predictor’ prior to the match was 66 to 34 for Medvedev and two sets later it marked 96 to 4 on the screen for the Russian tennis player. The computer did not control who it is Nadal, his passion, his talent, his competitiveness and his capacity for suffering. He didn’t even take it into account. Medvedev despite the fact that in 42 minutes he made the first set his own, prevailing over the boos with which he jumped into the Rod Laver Arena, with an audience totally devoted to Nadal.
Nadal was looking for the Russian’s mistake with his backhand cut and low at the feet but Medvedev held on stoically, very solid with his serve (83% effective), waiting for the opportunity. At 1-1, Nadal saved two first break points against in a long game of 9 minutes and three magic shots that surprised Medvedev.
The first missed opportunity did not discourage the Russian, who on the second occasion he had, in the fifth set, broke Nadal’s serve to go ahead 3-2 and repeat it, also blank, in the seventh game, in which Nadal helped with two double faults. With that lead, Medvedev sealed the set with a first serve, after winning five games in a row.
Spontaneous on the track
Nadal conceded the blow but started the second set ready to end the Russian’s streak. And not only did he do it, but he scored his first break (3-1) after an hour of play. The situation had changed. Nadal began to play more with his style, improving serve percentages and moving the Russian with his right hand, surprising him with dropshots and changing ball heights. Medvedev withstood the attack.
The Balearic tennis player did the best he knew how to suffer on the court and managed to equalize 5-5, after breaking two Nadal serves and saving a set ball at 5-4, in a game that lasted more than 13 minutes. A battle within the battle, in which a spectator jumped to the track to scare Medvedev with 5-3 from Nadal, who was desperate and looked towards his box as if to say “I don’t know what else I can do”.
Medvedev was a Wall and overcome the harassment managed to reach the ‘tie break’. In that face the cross, his serve again, was decisive to make the second set his own, raising a 5-3 favorable to Nadal who, after 1 hour and 24 minutes, saw how the opportunity to equalize the score vanished.
the comeback begins
The Russian machine seemed unbreakable but Nadal was not willing to give up until he played the last ball. He missed a ‘break point’ in the first game. He saved a 0-40 in the sixth, against a Medvedev who smelled victory. Anxiety took its toll on Medvedev, who rushed in and lost his serve (4-5), with an error at the net, applauded by the public and, later, a parallel ‘passing shot’ by Nadal. The 2009 champion did not waste it. In the following, blank, he forced the fourth set.
Nadal was on the court to leave everything in it. He had not reached the final to give in easily. After his injured six month ordeal, It reminded Medvedev that he was facing a 20-time Grand Slam champion. Someone who came back from 5-1 against him in the 2020 Masters and who already taught him a lesson in the US Open final that he won, also in the fifth set. So Medvedev was inexperienced in such situations, but this time it seemed that he could control it.
It was not so. The tension gripped the Russian, who could not make the ‘break’ in the second game and two games later he lost his serve, with a double fault, so that Nadal went ahead 2-1 and finished forcing the fifth set, despite the fact that Medvedev tried to avoid it with a ‘break’ (2-2) and in the fifth game in which he let 7 break points escape.
Medvedev found it impossible to avoid it against a Nadal who seemed to be 20 years old with the energy he displayed on the track. The physical problems were the Russian tennis player who asked for attention from the physio on the court a couple of times, hurt in a few exhausted hamstrings. The match was where Nadal wanted. Where neither imagined when in the third set Medvedev dominated him 3-2 and had a 0-40 to make the ‘break’. He couldn’t close the game. He let three golden chances slip away, especially the last one and he would pay for it in the end.j
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2022
Almost five hours later the one who made the ‘break’ was Nadal (3-2), to later save three ‘break points’ and place himself 5-3 to win the match with his serve. Medvedev returned the ‘break’ (5-5) but Nadal was not willing to give in having reached that point. The Spanish recovered the ‘break’ in the following game to return to have another opportunity to finally hunt down the russian ‘bear’, as they call Medvedev, and achieve the most impossible victory of his life.
The triumph of a unique champion that finished off the point, the game, the match, the title and the 21st Grand Slam with a last volley that Medvedev could not respond to himself Rod Laver, who photographed the moment, both incredulous and amazed by the passion and charisma of a unique athlete.
This is how we told the final live