Rafael Nadal Makes History with Australian Open Men's Singles Final Win After 5 Hours of Play

Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in a comeback win at the 2022 men's singles final in Melbourne

Rafael Nadal (L) of Spain and Daniil Medvedev of Russia pose during the trophy presentation for the Men’s Singles Final match during day 14 of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.
Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty

The first Grand Slam tournament of 2022 has come to an end, with Rafael Nadal taking the men's singles final title over Daniil Medvedev.

During Sunday's Australian Open men's final in Melbourne,Nadal defeated Medvedevin a 5-set match: 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

The final lasted a staggering 5 hours and 24 minutes, with Nadal having a come-from-behind win after losing the first two sets to Medvedev.

"First of all I know it's a tough moment, Daniil, you are an amazing champion," Nadal addressed reporters following his win. "I've been in this position a couple of times in this tournament, having chances to have the trophy with me, but I don't have any doubt that you have this trophy a couple of times in your career, because you're amazing, so I want to congratulate you."

"It was one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career and to share a court with you is just an honor, so all the best in the future," he continued.

Heading into Sunday, no. 6 seed Nadal was vying to win his 21st Grand Slam title. The win has now officially broken his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who both currently hold 20 titles. Nadal, 35, earned his 20th Grand Slam title in October 2020, sweeping Djokovic in the French Open men's singles final in Paris.

Rafael Nadal
Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Medvedev, ranked no. 2, last made it to the Australian Open final in 2021, but lost to Djokovic, whose COVID-19-related visa troubles kept him from competing in this year's tournament. Medvedev, 26, has one Grand Slam title to his name after winning the US Open tournament in 2021.

Ahead of the match, Nadal spoke about his potential history-making victory, explaining that it simply "means a lot" to reach the finals again after struggling with a foot injury.

"For me it's all about the Australian Open more than anything else," Nadal told reporters after his quarterfinal match. "It's just an amazing event that, as I said a couple of days ago, I had been a little bit unlucky during my career with some injuries."

"There were times I played amazing finals with good chances — against Novak in 2012, against Roger 2017 — I was close a couple of times," he continued. "I feel very lucky that I won it once in my career in 2009 but I never thought about another chance in 2022."

Earlier in the weekend, Ashleigh Barty became the first Australian to win the women's singles tournament in over four decades, defeating American Danielle Collins in two sets.

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