Roger Federer praises Rafael Nadal after the 21st Major title: 'Enjoy my friend'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 20008
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal kicked off their rivalry in Miami 2004 when the youngster beat world no. 1 in straight sets. Over the next 15 years, two great rivals have battled for the most prominent titles in our sport, pushing each other to the limits all the time and forging one of the greatest rivalries in history.
After the 2009 Wimbledon, Federer had nine Major titles more on his tally, with slim chances for Nadal to catch his great opponent. Since 2010, Rafa has delivered better numbers at the most notable tournaments, matching Federer's 20 Major titles at the 2020 Roland Garros and passing Federer and Djokovic on Sunday in Melbourne.
Nadal became the first player with 21 Major titles following a hard-fought 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Daniil Medvedev in five hours and 24 minutes. Federer was among the first to congratulate Nadal on his incredible achievement, saying there's still plenty more in front of him but that he should enjoy this one at the moment.
Roger Federer congratulated Rafael Nadal on the 21st Major title.
Sidelined since August, Nadal gave his best to start the season in Australia despite not feeling at his best following a foot injury. The Spaniard stopped the clock again to win all ten matches in Melbourne, claim two titles and write history as the most successful player at Majors.
Rafa secured the first Melbourne crown since 2009, giving his best in the title clash and becoming the first player who came from two sets to love down in the final in the Open era. Medvedev had three break chances in the third set's sixth game that could have sent him closer to the finish line.
Rafa saved them and battled past in the rest of the clash to emerge at the top in one of the most extended Major finals and write history books. "To my friend and great rival Rafa Nadal. Heartfelt congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 singles Grand Slam titles.
A few months ago, we were joking about both being on crutches. Amazing. Never underestimate a great champion. Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless others around the world.
I am proud to share this era with you and honored to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me in the past 18 years. I am sure you have more achievements ahead, but for now, enjoy this one," Roger Federer said.