Rafael Nadal won a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title in the most stunning fashion, fighting back from two sets down to beat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a classic Australian Open final.
Backed by a loud Melbourne crowd, sixth seed Nadal rallied to win 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena.
US Open champion Medvedev was going for his second successive major title.
Medvedev, 25, was in command before Nadal showed all of his renowned grit and fight to earn an extraordinary win.
The 35-year-old Spaniard has been at the centre of some of the sport’s most incredible triumphs – but this surely goes down as the most amazing Grand Slam victory of his illustrious career.
In the absence of the deported Novak Djokovic and the injured Roger Federer in Melbourne, Nadal has moved one ahead of his great rivals in the race to finish with most major men’s singles titles.
Nadal’s achievement comes only a few months after he thought he would never be able to return to the tour because of a foot injury.
The issue restricted him to only one tournament in the final seven months of 2021, while a bout of coronavirus in mid-December also left him “very sick with fever”.
Those setbacks meant the Australian Open was just Nadal’s second competitive event in five months, having won a warm-up tournament at Melbourne Park earlier in January.