After winning the 2022 Australian Open, Rafael Nadal became the male tennis player with the most Grand Slam titles in history, but the Spaniard thinks that number will be beaten one day.
Nadal re-wrote the history books by battling back from two sets down to beat Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in a gruelling 5 hour 24 min epic in Melbourne.
On arrival in Spain after his victory in Australia, the 35-year-old says he is happy to be the current record holder but not obsessed with keeping the title.
“I’d love to be the one with the most [Grand Slams], but I’m not obsessed with the idea of not being it,” Nadal told reporters.
“I don’t think 21 are enough to be the one with the most. I’m going to keep fighting for that and I hope to have opportunities if by body allows it.
“Last year I was close to the 21st at Roland Garros. If I’m the one with most Slams or not, I don’t think it will affect my life. In my day to day I don’t go into training thinking about winning more than someone else.”
Nadal also admitted that he went to Australia not expecting to win, but that winning a pre-Slam tournament was a boost to his confidence.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning [the Australian Open] because I hadn’t been able to train well, but I won the first tournament [the Melbourne Summer Set] and that was a step forward,” he said.
“From then on there were several key moments: a few training sessions against the top players where I was going toe-to-toe with them.
“Then the third match against [Karen] Khachanov because I stepped up a level. It was the first big test and I came through it feeling good.”
THE VICTORY: Nadal clinched a record-breaking 21st grand slam title on Sunday after beating Medvedev 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in a marathon Australian Open final for the ages.
The Spaniard surpassed the previous men’s record of 20 he held jointly with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the latter of whom was denied entry into the country after having his visa revoked.
There had been major doubts about whether or not Nadal would even be fit enough to play at the Australian Open after missing the second half of 2021 with a foot injury.
However, he returned to action at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament at the beginning of January, going on to win his first ATP title since May 2021.
After beating Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open semi-final, Nadal said he was just happy to be back on the court after being beset by injuries.
As he sank to the floor, exhausted but victorious after five-and-a-half enthralling hours, Nadal proved he was not only fit enough to still compete at grand slams, but could realistically still win several more.
“It has been one of the most emotional matches in my tennis career and to share the court with you [Medvedev] was an honor,” Nadal said in his on court interview. “I don’t even know what to say, guys, for me it’s just amazing.
“I can’t thank enough all the guys that are there [in my box], all the team, family … just how hard the last year and half has been and in the low moments you have been there to support me and without you guys none of this would be possible.
“Being honest, one and a half months ago I didn’t know if I would be back on the tour playing tennis again and today I am here in front of you with the trophy again,” he said after Sunday’s final. “You don’t know how much I fought to be here. Thank you so much for the love and support.
“Without a doubt [it was] one of the most emotional matches in my tennis career and having the huge support I received during the three weeks is going to stay in my heart for the rest of my life, so many, many thanks.
“One month and half ago I would have said it would be my last Australian Open, but now I have a lot of energy to carry on. I cant explain the feelings I have now, but I’m going to try my best to come back next year.”