From struggling at 2 sets down to claiming one of the biggest victories the sport has seen, Rafael Nadal gave tennis a beautiful gift today.
Also, not to mention, himself.
With a scintillating victory over Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open, he is now the male tennis player with the most number of Grand Slams titles – 21 – to his name, inching past Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, both of whom have won 20.
Rafael Nadal stands alone at the 🔝#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/fpsmzKXyZn— ESPN India (@ESPNIndia) January 30, 2022
Nadal’s resilience today mirrored the persistence he has shown in the last few years, and in a larger sense, his entire career.
He came back from a serious injury on his left foot, to accomplish something that almost everyone would have predicted he would, likely, but after the ‘greatest of all time’. This is something one can’t blame people for, ‘the greatest of all time’ has earned that title.
Nadal proved us wrong, though.
One of the greatest strategies of all time is to simply hang around. When things are not going your way, just hang around. Don’t go away. Things change. Seasons change. Night can turn to day. 20 can turn to 21 if you just… hang around. 🇪🇸🎾.— Craig O’Shannessy (@BrainGameTennis) January 30, 2022
Congrats Rafael #Nadal 👏👏 #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/yCppdZgVg1
“I didn’t know if I would be back on the tour playing tennis again.”— CNN Sports (@cnnsport) January 30, 2022
After six months out with an injury and at times thinking about retirement, Rafael Nadal completes one of tennis’ greatest comebacks.#AusOpen
➡ https://t.co/iTJrl2rXP8 pic.twitter.com/DN2yP8KlvJ
Nadal is still on the bike, by the way. He’s not human.#AusOpen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 30, 2022
HIStory. 𝟐𝟏 Grand Slam titles.@RafaelNadal 🏆🇪🇸 #AO2022 #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/E78VQjdLa9— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) January 30, 2022
“You are just amazing.”— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2022
No, you are @RafaelNadal 💙#AO2022 • #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/tUst9uTvU9
“Maybe one month and a half ago, I might have said this would be my last Australian Open…— TENNIS (@Tennis) January 30, 2022
…But now that’s plenty of energy to keep going.” —@RafaelNadal
Amazing how a fortnight can change one’s perspective. ❤️#AusOpen | https://t.co/RPorsN9LW3 pic.twitter.com/qyD1nAlJkk
Ladies and Gentlemen:— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 30, 2022
Roger Federer about Rafael Nadal’s
And we happily accept this defeat as we bow down to the living example that if you love something more than life and commit to it with all your heart, you end up doing things that were earlier unimaginable.
As corny as it sounds, this is what all the records in sports and every achievement boils down to: how much you love, and how well.
Tennis is fortunate to find a lover like Rafael Nadal, most of us do not have that kind of luck.