Eurosport's experts have given their reactions after Rafael Nadal secured a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title in an epic victory over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final.
The Russian second seed was eyeing two majors on the bounce after he claimed his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, but Nadal staged a famous comeback from two sets down to win a marathon match in thrilling fashion, 2-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-5.
Medvedev, who lost out to Novak Djokovic in the 2021 showpiece at Melbourne Park, overwhelmed his legendary opponent early on with utterly relentless groundstrokes as he stormed into a commanding lead.
Djokovic at US Open: America relaxes Covid rules - but star faces travel wait
But the 35-year-old Nadal responded miraculously as he powered back to win the third and fourth sets, showing all his usual guts and resolve, and he went on to eventually defeat an exhausted Medvedev in a match that lasted well over five hours.
The fans inside Rod Laver Arena could barely believe what they were watching as the marathon clash went to a deciding set, and the Spaniard somehow found a way to edge out his weary opponent amid unbearable tension and secure a famous victory at the second time of serving for the match.
Mats Wilander said: "To me this is the best comeback in the Open era, winning the 21st Grand Slam title, 35 years old, being 36 when the French Open comes around.
"He beats the best player in the world in Daniil Medvedev, you would have to call him after winning the US Open. It is indescribable and I do not know where he finds that strength."
"It is just incredible. He is two sets down and you are playing Medvedev, you are not playing Matteo Berrettini – by that I mean someone who doesn’t play long rallies. This is physical. Somehow, he figured out how to get free points on the serve, free points on the forehand.
"He came into the tournament with low expectations for him. Imagine winning 21 Slams and going to a place where you have won 13 times [Roland Garros]. This is going to be the best three or four months of his career coming up now.
"Being able to practise, being healthy, and then going into the clay-court season. He has never been in the lead in that 'Greatest Player Of All Time' [race]. Federer has been in the lead the whole time."
Watch historic moment Nadal wins Australian Open and claims 21st Grand Slam title
- 'What a shot!' - Nadal stuns fans in 'incredible' 40-shot rally with outrageous slice
- 'They can pass to each other?!' - Medvedev in bizarre rant about ball kids to umpire
Tim Henman said: "I can’t quite get my head around it given the last six months for Rafa, having not played much coming into this event and all the circumstances he faced prior to the tournament.
"The resilience, he was down two-sets-to-love, I thought he was cooked, and he found a way to keep on fighting and coming back. We thought the younger guy and the longer match was going to play into Medvedev’s hands, it was just incredible to see.
"Rafa was able to stay in the moment. There is no point thinking about the final when you are in the second round, you’ve got to take it step-by-step. In the second set, Nadal had so many opportunities and he didn’t win it, so you are thinking he is down two sets to love and there is just no way back.
"I think part of his mindset is that he doesn’t think of the fifth set when he is in the third set. He started to build those bridges, he started to get more energy as the match went on. With the crowd support, they were just driving him to the finish line."
It is only Nadal's second title at Melbourne Park after he won the tournament back in 2009, and after the comeback he has staged in the off-season following a spate of injuries, this second crown is all the more remarkable.
He has now moved clear of both of his legendary rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who each have 20 Grand Slam singles titles. For Nadal, this was both a historic and unforgettable triumph.
Highlights: Nadal wins Australian Open and claims 21st Grand Slam title
- - -
Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on-demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99
'I'm missing home' - Tired Kyrgios downs 'hell of a player' De Minaur in Montreal
'An extraordinary line-up' - Tsitsipas, Ruud join Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray for Laver Cup
Share this article