Rafael Nadal gallery: A look at how the ‘Miracle of Melbourne’ earned Spaniard a 21st Grand Slam title

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has proven that age ain’t nothing but a number when he lifted his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Sunday. The Spaniard produced a miracle fightback against Daniil Medvedev on Rod Laver Arena, he came from two sets down to win 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in five hours and 25 minutes.

Rafael Nadal takes on Marcos Giron at teh Australian Open
Before a ball was hit in anger at Melbourne Park, Rafael Nadal admitted that he nearly didn’t travel Down Under due to a career-threatening injury. Yet when play got underway, Nadal played some magnificent shots – here against Marcos Giron of the United States in the first round He defeated the American 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

After missing several months of action in 2021, Nadal was unsure about his participation in the 2022 Australian Open. However, he came through his first-round match against Giron with flying colours as he defeated the American in quick time.

Rafael Nadal and Yannick Hanfmann
He was made to work a bit harder in the second round by Yannick Hanfmann from Germany as he won 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. After the match, the Spaniard celebrated by taking off his shirt and gave it to a lucky fan in the stands.

The 35-year-old produced another clinical display against German qualifier Hanfmann as he again won in straight sets to reach the third round at Melbourne Park.

Pure delight for Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open
There were plenty of fist pumps from Nadal during his match against Karen Khachanov from Russia. And it was a tough one for the Spaniard as he dropped his first set of the tournament before winning 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

The sixth seed, who was still a 20-time Grand Slam champion, was through to the last 16 at the Australian Open after a testing clash against Khachanov as he came through in two hours and 50 minutes.

Rafael Nadal and Adrian Mannarino
Nadal shakes hands with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino after their fourth-round match in Melbourne. It was another encounter that lasted nearly three hours as he advanced to the last eight thanks to a 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 win.

Nadal remained focused and on course for his record 21st Grand Slam title after winning a battle of left-handers against world No 58 Adrian Mannarino from France.

Denis Shapovalov argues with Rafael Nadal
The quarter-final clash against Denis Shapovalov was a heated affair with the Canadian accusing Nadal of being favoured by the chair umpire. Nadal, though, still emerged victorious from a tight five-setter, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-6, 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal battled a stomach problem, his feisty opponent and difficult weather conditions and yet he still managed to show a good composure and a good fight against Canadian world No 12 Shapovalov to book his place in the last four.

Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini.
Italian Matteo Berrettini stood between Nadal and another Australian Open final. The Spaniard was cool, calm and collected throughout as he defeated the seventh-seed Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to put himself one win away from a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

He dropped another set against Berrettini, but the truth was that Nadal was never really in danger of going out in the semi-final. Victory meant the 35-year-old advanced to the Australian Open final for the sixth time and was to face reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.

Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini.
The Spaniard was ecstatic after seeing off the challenge of Berrettini at Melbourne Park. The fans were equally delighted for the 20 Grand Slam champion as he would be gunning for a piece of history come Sunday.

There were joyous scenes on the court as well as off the court as Nadal celebrated his win over Berrettini and the fans knew what was at stake as he was within touching distance of a precious 21st Grand Slam title.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his Australian Open title
The final against Medvedev was one to remember as the 35-year-old roared back from two sets down to win 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in five hours and 24 minutes to claim a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title.

It was a memorable victory for the Spaniard, thirteen years after winning his first Australian Open title, Nadal did it again Down Under.

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev
Nadal and Medvedev had time to share a joke after the epic Australian Open final match at Melbourne Park. It got a bit heated during the match, but afterwards there were no hard feelings between the pair.

Nadal struggled to cope against the world No 2 during the early stages of the match on Sunday, the 35-year-old produced a remarkable comeback to record a 21st Grand Slam in a match that lasted over five hours.

Rafael Nadal celebrates Australian Open win
After a 13-year wait, Nadal got his hands on the precious Australian Open title again. It was a moment to savour for the Spaniard, who nearly didn’t make the trip to Melbourne following his injury woes.

Nadal could scarcely believe it that he managed to came back from two sets down to beat the reigning US Open champion in the final and win a 21st Grand Slam title.

Rafael Nadal
The world No 5 addresses the crowd shortly after lifting the Norman Brookes Challenges Cup for a second time in his career. With it being his 21st Grand Slam title, he edged ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic who are tied up at 20.

Nadal pulled a remarkable performance in Australia this year after suffering severe injuries in the past few seasons. He was ruled out by many saying he won’t win any majors again in his career but he proved them wrong.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal poses for a photograph with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in Melbourne the day after his historic win. It was certainly one for the record books and one that will live long in the memory of all tennis fans.

With Nadal now leading the race in terms of most Grand Slam singles titles by a male player, it means the greatest player of all time debate is back in full swing. Is it Nadal, Federer or Djokovic?

Latest