Nadal clinched his latest major win in Melbourne after pulling off an incredible comeback from two sets down to defeat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the final.
21 majors 🏆 One @RafaelNadal 💪🇦🇺 #AusOpen • 🇫🇷 @rolandgarros • 🇬🇧 @wimbledon • 🇺🇸 @usopen https://t.co/rDASLCnaDH
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The 35-year-old’s momentous victory took him to the top of the all-time men’s list and one clear of the 20 Grand Slam titles won by Roger Federer, who is injured, and Novak Djokovic, who was controversially deported from Australia before the tournament began.
The Spaniard could now make it 22 at the French Open in June, where he has been crowned champion a record 13 times already.
“I have no idea what number of Grand Slams I will have,” Nadal said at a press conference at his academy in Mallorca.
“Not long ago I would have signed for just being able to play tennis again.
Every player dreams of winning a Grand Slam 🏆 @RafaelNadal has achieved that dream 2️⃣1️⃣ times 👏 🇦🇺 #AusOpen ·… https://t.co/hqBcQipVDe
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“I want to be the one with the most majors out of the three of us, I would love that, but I’m not obsessed, absolutely not. Whatever comes is welcome and I don’t think 21 is enough to be honest. But you never know what will happen in the future.”
Nadal’s comeback against Medvedev had a wider context too, given he had doubts about even returning to professional tennis when struggling with a foot injury last year.
The injury restricted Nadal to playing only one tournament in the last seven months of 2021. Nadal said he will decide if he is ready to play at Acapulco in Mexico later this month but he is keen to compete at Indian Wells in March.
A night that @RafaelNadal & the Australian Open Ballkids won’t forget 🏆 #AusOpen • #AO2022 https://t.co/LVgKhqLGyc
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“It still hurts when I play,” Nadal said. “But I’m playing at a higher level now than I was more than four weeks ago and this has given me a huge boost of confidence to move forward.”
“On a personal level it’s been an unforgettable experience,” Nadal added.
“I have been able to enjoy the highest level of sport again, something that was very difficult to imagine a few weeks ago.
“As well as achieving something special, for me it has been special to be able to compete again to the maximum with the best players. This is vital for me and for the future.”