'I thought Rafael Nadal would lose to Daniil Medvedev, he proved me wrong,' says..
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 18152
Playing only two official matches after Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal had to endure challenging times in the second part of 2021. In September, the Spaniard underwent a minor left foot procedure and started all over, hoping to get ready for the new season.
The 20-time Major winner traveled to Melbourne after the coronavirus isolation and claimed the ATP 250 title, his first on the Tour since May last year. Gathering a boost, Rafa went all the way to conquer the second Australian Open crown and the record-breaking 21st Major crown, leaving Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on 20.
After passing the stern Denis Shapovalov test, Nadal defeated Matteo Berrettini to advance into the sixth title match at Melbourne Park, with world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev standing between him and the trophy.
Rafael Nadal came from two sets to love down to beat Daniil Medvedev in Melbourne.
After an epic battle, the veteran prevailed 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes to wrap up a perfect Melbourne trip and write history.
Speaking about the final, John McEnroe admitted he did not expect Rafa to pull it and emerge at the top, praising the Spaniard and his fighting spirit. Medvedev made one last push at 3-5 in the decider to level the score at 5-5 before losing serve in game 11.
Serving for the title for the second time, Rafa held at love a few minutes later to wrap up one of his most impressive triumphs in a career and become the first player with 21 Major crowns at 35. "Medvedev had his chances in the closing stages.
I still thought he would win, as it's very tough to come from two sets to love down. Rafa has only done that three times in his entire career, twice at Majors. To do what he did there is insane. And even in the fifth set, you still wonder whether Nadal will have enough energy to pull it off.
Then it became apparent that he was still going pretty strong, but Medvedev got a second wind, and it looked like maybe he could take over. And then Rafa broke and was 30-0 on serve at 5-4. Medvedev came back, and then you think, 'Oh my God, maybe Medvedev is gonna win.'
The Russian lost his serve in the next game, and the entire battle was indeed a memorable one. I feel it's hard to believe that I just watched that for the last five or six hours," John McEnroe said.