Roger Federer has showered praise on his "friend" and "amazing champion" Rafael Nadal after seeing the Spaniard lift his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Nadal mounted an all-time great comeback to down Daniil Medvedev in five hours and 24 minutes to seal the crown in Melbourne, and go past Federer - still on 20 - in the Slam tally for the first time in their careers.
There was not an ounce of jealousy in Federer's message, however.
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He wrote: "To my friend and great rival Rafael Nadal, heartfelt congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles titles.
"A few months ago we were joking about both being on crutches. Amazing. Never underestimate a great champion.
"Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless others around the world.
"I am proud to share this era with you and honoured to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me the past 18 years.
"I am sure you have more achievements ahead but for now enjoy this one.”
Federer, 40, is currently out injured with a long-standing knee complaint that has kept him off the circuit since last summer, but hopes to return to tennis later in 2022.
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