Rafael Nadal: Daniil Medvedev is a great champion, I know how hard it is for him now

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Rafael Nadal: Daniil Medvedev is a great champion, I know how hard it is for him now

Rafael Nadal called Daniil Medvedev a "great champion" after edging out the Russian in a thriller Australian Open final. Nadal recovered from two sets down to beat Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-4 7-5 and win his second Australian Open title.

“I think Daniil is a great champion,” said Nadal. “He accepted the loss very well and I can say thanks because it’s a very hard night for him. I know how tough it is to be in that position”. Nadal broke the all-time Grand Slam record as he now owns 21 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal, 35, has one more Grand Slam than Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. “It's amazing to achieve another Grand Slam at this moment of my career,” Nadal said. “Of course, I know it's a special number, 21.

I know what it means, but from my point of view today is an unforgettable day…I feel lucky to achieve one more very special thing in my tennis career."

Nadal keeping a positive spirit

Nadal played only one tournament in the rest of 2021 after the French Open.

Nadal returned to action in Australia, where he won the Melbourne Summer Set and Ausralian Open. “I really believe that I hold a very positive spirit. For the last six months, I really fought a lot to try to be back on court…[There] have been very tough moments because you don't know if you’re going to have the chance.

I feel honoured”. Nadal said this Grand Slam title was more emotional than his first. “[Today was] more emotional than the first one, no doubt about that,” said Nadal. “At the latter stages of your career, I think you enjoy these moments more because you know the chances are less.

When you are 19 of course it is super special, but you know if you are playing well, you're going to keep having chances to enjoy [such] moments”.