Rafael Nadal reached 21 first place, breaking the men’s record for the most Grand Slam singles titles. He then beat Daniil Medvedev in a nearly 5 1/2-hour Australian Open final, which didn’t end until Monday morning.
He was broken in the fifth set when he served for the championship at 5-4, but he made no mistakes the next time.
It was the second longest Australian Open final at 5 hours, 24 minutes. Novak Djokovic defeated Nadal in five sets 5 hours 53 minutes back in 2012.
The 35-year old Spaniard has now one more than Roger Federer or Djokovic who are his long-standing rivals in the so called Big Three.
Nadal became the fourth man to win all four major titles in tennis with his 2-6, 66-7 (5),6-4,6-4, 7-5 victory that began Sunday night.
Nadal won the 2009 Australian Open title and then lost four finals at Melbourne Park. He was defeated by Medvedev, who is now the U.S. Open champion. His finals conversation rate is 21 out of 29. Federer and Djokovic have each 20 majors from 31 finals appearances.
Even more impressive was his victory, considering Nadal flew from Canada to Australia in 2021 with only two matches under his belt. He was suffering from a chronic foot injury and was unable to compete. He was also afflicted by COVID-19.
Medvedev, who was determined to become the first Open era man to win his second Grand Slam title at a major, saw Nadal win in two sets. After their career breakthroughs at the highest levels, Medvedev joins Andy Murray in losing the final of the next major tournament.
This was the fourth consecutive time Nadal won a best of five-set match after being down two sets. It also marks the first victory since winning the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2007 over Mikhail Youzhny.