Rafael Nadal has been a professional tennis player for over two decades. Rafa made the first pro steps in 2001, and he needed only four years to reach the top and become a Major champion. Like every player of his caliber, especially after so many matches on the Tour, Nadal has had some incredible wins and losses.
Still, one fact about this outstanding competitor has always stood, as he never underestimated his rival, facing someone from the top or world no. 150. After the recent Australian Open success, Rafa reminded that he never left the tournament thinking he did not give his best or tried everything to win.
Nadal never accepted playing below his 100%, which makes him proud after everything he has achieved. The Spaniard skipped the second part of the 2021 season, playing only two matches after Roland Garros and calling it a year in August.
Struggling with a foot injury, Rafa gave his best to recover and start the current season in Australia. Heading to Melbourne with no high expectations or pressure on his back, Nadal claimed all ten victories Down Under and went home with two trophies in his bag.
Rafa became the first player with 21 Major titles at the Australian Open, conquering the crown in Melbourne for the first time since 2009 and writing history books. Feeling good physically, Nadal passed a couple of challenging obstacles to advance into the sixth Australian Open final.
Rafael Nadal spoke about his battling spirit throughout his career.
The Spaniard was a couple of games from the fifth consecutive loss in the Melbourne title match, trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 to world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev.
Staying competitive and willing to fight until the last atom, Rafa started one of his most incredible comebacks ever, saving three break points in that sixth game and winning sets three and four to force a decider. With momentum on his side, Nadal opened a 5-3 gap in the final set, missing the first chance to bring the victory home but taking two games at 5-5 to emerge at the top and prove his unprecedented fighting spirit.
"I was devastated at the end. There was one situation in the fifth set. I thought it would be impossible to get out of the chair after the break and win the next game, even though I served. If I'm proud of one thing in my career, it's that I have never left the tournament feeling that I did not give my everything. Playing below my best in every match is impossible to accept," Rafael Nadal said.