Rafael Nadal sent a classy message to his Australian Open opponent Daniil Medvedev following his stunning win over the Russian in the final in Melbourne. Nadal made history by becoming the first male player to win 21 Grand Slams after coming from two sets down to sensationally triumph 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 on the Rod Laver Arena.
The match is already being described as one of the greatest that tennis has ever seen, and it caps off what has been a quite remarkable comeback from injury by Nadal, who feared a few months ago that his career may be coming to an end.
Nadal was typically magnaminous in victory, and started off his speech by praising his opponent Medvedev, who was desperately unlucky to lose having put himself in such a strong position.
“Good evening, well good morning everybody,” he said. “I know it’s a tough moment – Daniil you are amazing. I have been in this position.
“I don’t have any doubt that you will have this trophy a couple of times in your career because you are amazing.
“It has been one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career. All the best to you in the future.”
Nadal then went on to thank a number of people, adding: “I don’t know what to say guys. For me it is just amazing. I did not know if I would be back on the tour playing tennis again. You don’t know how much it means to be back here. You are amazing and thank you so much for all of your support.
“Without a doubt it is one of the most emotional [periods] of my career. To have the support I have received the last three weeks will stay in my heart. So many, many thanks.
“I honestly can’t thank enough all the guys that are there – all the team, all the family, those that aren’t here. How hard the last year and a half has been. In the low moments you have been there every single moment in support. Without you none of this is possible so thank you very much for everything.
“I don’t want to forget the volunteers and everyone who makes possible this event.
“Thank you very much for supporting tennis and myself. It has been tough times to organise tennis tournaments but the last two years you have done a great job. I wish you all the very best.
“I thought this might be my last Australian Open but this has given me enough energy to maybe keep going. I will keep trying my very best to come again next year. Thank you.”
Medvedev himself was full of praise for Nadal, saying: “It’s tough to talk, after five hours-thirty, and losing … I want to congratulate Rafa because what you did today, I was amazed … During the match I tried just to play tennis, but after the match, I just, you know, asked him – ‘Are you tired?’
“It was insane. The level was very high … you raised your level after two sets for the 21st grand slam … I thought you were going to get tired, and maybe you did just a little, but still won the match. So, you are an amazing champion.
“I think you guys [Nadal, Djokovic and Federer] have a good rivalry, still, it’s not over yet. Congrats, it was unbelievable, and congrats to your team, of course.”