Jan 30 (CNN) – Rafael Nadal clinched a record-breaking 21st grand slam title after beating Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-5 in an Australian Open final for the ages.
The Spaniard surpassed the previous men’s record of 20 he held jointly with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the latter of whom was denied entry into the country after having his visa revoked.
There had been major doubts about whether or not Nadal would even be fit enough to play at the Australian Open after missing the second half of 2021 with a foot injury.
However, he returned to action at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament at the beginning of January, going on to win his first ATP title since May 2021.
After beating Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open semifinal, Nadal said he was just happy to be back on the court after being beset by injuries.
“I feel lucky just playing tennis,” he told Eurosport.
“I’m playing with great tactical, positive feelings. I feel a little bit alive again, attitude, the competitive spirit, so yeah, I’ve missed that feeling sometimes. I am enjoying it. “I know the pressure is not much for me now. I never believed I would have the chance to be where I am today, so I’m just enjoying every single moment.”
As he sank to the floor, exhausted but victorious after five-and-a-half enthralling hours, Nadal proved he was not only fit enough to still compete at grand slams, but could realistically still win several more.