Rafael Nadal got to 21 first, breaking the men’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles and doing it the hard way by coming back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in an almost 5 1/2-hour Australian Open final that didn’t finish until the early hours of Monday morning.
He was broken when serving for the championship at 5-4 in the fifth set but made no mistake the next time. At 5 hours and 24 minutes, it was the second longest Australian Open final after Novak Djokovic beat Nadal in five sets in 5 hours and 53 minutes in 2012.
The 35-year-old Spaniard now has one more than Roger Federer and Djokovic, his long-time rivals in the so-called Big Three.
Speaking of the Big Three, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic congratulated Nadal on the achievement through Instagram and Twitter respectively.
Congratulations to @RafaelNadal for 21st GS. Amazing achievement. Always impressive fighting spirit that prevailed another time. Enhorabuena 👏🏆👍 @Medwed33 gave it his all out there and played with the passion and determination we have come to expect from him. pic.twitter.com/DsOvK8idNc
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 30, 2022
Here’s all the other reaction that poured in from all corners of the world after Nadal reigned supreme:
— Leander Paes OLY (@Leander) January 30, 2022
Such Tenacity as usual from the great man Rafa!👏👏 #AO2022
— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) January 30, 2022
— Madison Keys (@Madison_Keys) January 30, 2022
A final of Herculean proportions, thank you for a brilliant contest @RafaelNadal and @DaniilMedwed. Two AO crowns and 21 majors, given everything you have endured this historic victory is so special Rafa. It has been a privilege to watch you doing what you love. Congratulations🚀
— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) January 30, 2022
Vamos @RafaelNadal with a 2nd @AustralianOpen title, his first being 13 years ago! A true ambassador for the sport of tennis, a warrior, a gentleman, a fabulous athlete. #RafaelNadal #21GrandSlamTitles
— Alan Wilkins (@alanwilkins22) January 30, 2022
— Rashid Latif 🇵🇰 (@iRashidLatif68) January 30, 2022