The 2022 Australian Open final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev was arguably one of the most thrilling matches in the history of the sport. It was special on many levels as Nadal made history by becoming the first man to win 21 Slams. The manner in which he came back from the brink of a crushing defeat was the cherry on top.
Many have lauded the Spaniard for his comeback in the Slam Down Under and joining the praise is former World No. 2 Alex Corretja. He opined that Nadal's comeback win could well be the "turning point" in tennis history.
"Turning point of 2022, and who knows, maybe in tennis history," Corretja tweeted.
Medvedev easily took the first set as Nadal struggled to cope with the Russian's huge serve and consistency from the baseline. The Russian worked hard to take the second set, edging the Spaniard in a tight tie-break to move to within touching distance of his maiden Australian Open triumph.
In the sixth game of the third set, Nadal found himself staring at three break points. It was at this moment that the Spaniard stepped up his game. Not only did he win the game from 0-40, but he also went on to take the set and clay his way back into the match.
After winning the third set, Nadal continued to grind against possibly the best hardcourt player in the world at the moment. The Spaniard stole the fourth set and forced the match into a decider.
Serving for the championship at 5-4, Nadal dropped serve. Memories of the 2012 and 2017 Australian Open finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after leading in the fifth set, must have flashed before his eyes.
However, Nadal immediately got the break back and closed out the match, winning the Australian Open for the second time in his career. The final scoreline read 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5
For the first time in his career, Rafael Nadal is in contention for the Calendar Slam
Before the Australian Open, the Big 3 were tied with 20 Majors each after Novak Djokovic won three out of the four Slams in 2021. The Serb would have been the first to 21 had it not been for Medvedev, who beat Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final.
To everyone's surprise, Rafael Nadal didn't just take the lead in the Slam race by winning Down Under, but he also extended it to two Slams by winning the 2022 French Open.
For the first time in his career, the 22-time Grand Slam champion is in contention to complete a Calendar Slam. The last time Nadal won the Australian Open, Robin Soderling beat him in the fourth round of Roland Garros for his first loss in the tournament. While Rafael Nadal has expressed his intention to compete at Wimbledon this year, his participation depends on the progress of his foot injury.
If the World No. 4 feels healthy, he will likely play at SW19 this year.