Rafael Nadal claimed his 21st Major title at last year's Australian Open, celebrating in Melbourne for the first time in 13 years! Rafa endured all the obstacles en route to the trophy, and he almost skipped the event following the lack of form and the coronavirus he caught at the end of 2021!
Speaking about Rafa's run, Toni praised his nephew, revealing he decided to travel to Australia only a couple of days before the ATP 250 event in Melbourne. Nadal had a rough 2021 season, winning only two ATP titles and failing to reach a Major final.
Struggling with injuries, the Spaniard played only 29 matches, missing all the action after Washington in early August due to a left foot injury. Rafa underwent a minor procedure in September and returned to the practice court.
Hoping to prepare for the new season, Nadal played two matches at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December. He lost to Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov before returning home. Meanwhile, Rafa tested positive for the coronavirus, spending a couple of days at home before hitting the court again.
With little time left to decide on the Melbourne trip, Nadal thought about his next move before starting the season as planned, testing his physical shape Down Under. Not knowing what to expect, Rafa signed to play the ATP 250 event in Melbourne, beating three rivals to lift his first ATP trophy since May last year.
Ready for more at the Australian Open, the 2009 champion stopped the clock and earned seven victories, securing his 21st Major crown and writing history books!
Toni Nadal spoke about Rafael Nadal's 2022 Australian Open journey.
Nadal ousted Denis Shapovalov in five sets in the quarter-final, losing a lot of energy but having enough left in the tank to overpower Matteo Berrettini in the semi-final.
Things did not look good for Rafa in the title clash against Daniil Medvedev, struggling and trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0. Unwilling to surrender, Nadal performed one of the finest comebacks of his career, scoring a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in five hours and 24 minutes for the record-breaking 21st Major title.
"I was surprised with Rafa's run. I remember when, three days before the start, Rafa called my youngest son to hit a few balls after being quarantined due to coronavirus. At nine o'clock, during training, he said, 'I do not know if I'm going to travel because my condition is not good enough for the Australian Open.'
The following day, he decided, 'Okay, come on, I'm going.' I think it was more the excitement of competing and returning to competition than believing in himself," Toni Nadal said.