Daniil Medvedev said he has nothing but a huge respect for Rafael Nadal following their epic Australian Open final. Medvedev appeared to be on the verge of claiming his first Australian Open title but Nadal recovered from two sets down to beat Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-4 7-5.
“[I have] huge respect for Rafa,” said Medvedev in his post-match press conference. “Huge respect for beating me because I tried my best”. Medvedev was up by two sets and had three consecutive break points in the sixth game of the third set before Nadal pulled off a stunning comeback.
“The way he managed to play throughout all these sets, even in the tough moments, for him it was for making history,” said Medvedev. “For sure he tried not to think about it, but it must have been somewhere in his head”.
Medvedev congratulated Nadal on making tennis history
Nadal now owns a record 21 Grand Slams. “[It’s] tough to talk after five hours, 30 minutes and losing, but I want to congratulate Rafa because what he did today, I was amazed,” said Medvedev.
“I tried during the match just to play tennis, but after the match I asked him, ‘Are you tired?’, because it was insane”. 35-year-old Nadal edged out 25-year-old Medvedev after more than five hours of play.
“He was really strong, even at four hours,” said Medvedev. “He didn't play for six months. He told me after the match that he hadn't practised much. It was unreal”. Medvedev felt he tactically did all the right things but Nadal was simply better.
“Tactically nothing changed. I feel like I was playing right, but Rafa stepped up,” said Medvedev. “The only thing was he was stronger than me physically today. There were some shots and points where I was a little bit on the back foot. Rafa takes control of these moments”.