Daniil Medvedev revealed defeat to record-breaker Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final had crushed his tennis dreams, accusing the Melbourne crowd of being "disrespectful" and claiming he gets rough treatment because he is Russian.

After delivering an unexpected monologue at the beginning of his post-match news conference, that Medvedev described as the "story of a young kid who dreamed about big things in tennis", the 25-year-old questioned whether he would feel wanted enough to play on beyond the age of 30.

He spoke of various highs and lows in the early years of his career, before making it clear he included his fourth grand slam final appearance on Sunday in the list of letdowns, but not purely because of the result.

"I'm talking about a few moments where the kid stopped dreaming, and today was one of them, and I'm not going to really tell why," Medvedev said.

"So from today I'm playing for myself, for my family, to provide my family, for people that trust in me; of course for all the Russians, because I feel a lot of support there.

"If there is a tournament on hardcourts in Moscow before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I'm going to go there even if I miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever.

"The kid's stopped dreaming, the kid's going to play for himself, and that's it, that's my story, thanks for listening guys."

Despite saying he would not discuss his initial statement, he was easily persuaded to expand on his points.

Medvedev said Nadal, who came from two sets down to beat the US Open champion, had been "unreal", as the Spaniard won a 21st grand slam title, moving ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. And Medvedev also said he had no major regrets about his own performance, although he must wonder how he failed to close this one out.

He then expanded on his gripe by confirming it was the crowd's response to him that had left him upset and disenchanted, saying almost all the support was behind Nadal.

"Before Rafa serves even in the fifth set, there would be somebody, and I would even be surprised, like one guy screaming, 'C'mon, Daniil'. A thousand people would be like, 'Tsss, tsss, tsss'. That sound. Before my serve, I didn't hear it," Medvedev said.

"It's disappointing. It's disrespectful, it's disappointing. I'm not sure after 30 years I'm going to want to play tennis.

"It depends what people around me are going to tell me, but the kid that truly was dreaming is not any more in me after today. It will be tougher to continue tennis when it's like this."

He spoke about facing the 'Big Three' – Djokovic, Federer and Nadal – during recent seasons.

"Every time I stepped on the court in these big matches, I really didn't see much people who wanted me to win," he said. "It's cumulative, but today was like the top of the mountain.

"I think nationality plays a key. I can definitely see when you are playing somebody from the other country, they would go for them and not for the Russian or something like this."

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic each paid tribute to Rafael Nadal after he passed the pair with his 21st grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Nadal set a new men's singles benchmark, breaking a three-way tie with Federer and Djokovic on 20 triumphs, as he battled back against Daniil Medvedev.

The Spaniard, whose career had appeared to be in some doubt last year due to injury, fought for over five hours to recover from two sets down in Sunday's epic final.

Federer, through injury, and Djokovic, deported amid coronavirus controversy, were both absent in Melbourne, although they have previously let slip respective opportunities to move to 21 titles.

Both therefore recognised the scale of Nadal's achievement as they took to social media.

"What a match! To my friend and great rival @rafaelnadal, heartfelt congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 grand slam singles titles," Federer wrote on his Instagram story.

"A few months ago we were joking about both being on crutches. Amazing. Never underestimate a great champion.

"Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless others around the world.

"I am proud to share this era with you and honoured to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me for the past 18 years.

"I am sure you have more achievements ahead but for now enjoy this one!"

Djokovic, posting for the first time since the tournament started in his absence, said on Twitter: "There has been some outstanding tennis played at this year's #AusOpen and the finals were exceptional.

"Congratulations to @ashbarty for an amazing performance in front of her home crowd and to Danielle Collins for an incredible tournament.

"Congratulations to @RafaelNadal for 21st GS. Amazing achievement. Always impressive fighting spirit that prevailed another time. Enhorabuena.

"@Medwed33 gave it his all out there and played with the passion and determination we have come to expect from him."

Rafael Nadal made history by clinching a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with an extraordinary win in the Australian Open final.

The Spaniard became the first man to win 21 majors, breaking his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Nadal edged Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 in an incredible final that lasted nearly five and a half hours on Rod Laver Arena.

We take a look at each of Nadal's grand slam successes.

2005 French Open
Nadal's maiden major was largely unsurprising. Then 18, Nadal carried a 17-match winning streak to Roland Garros. Ranked fifth in the world after starting the year outside the top 50, Nadal beat Federer in the semi-finals before getting past Mariano Puerta in the decider. He became the first man to win the tournament on debut since Mats Wilander in 1982.

2006 French Open
That would be the start of an almost unstoppable run in Paris. Lleyton Hewitt and a young Djokovic were unable to halt his run in 2006 before he again overcame Federer, this time in the final, after dropping the first set. It was the Swiss great's first loss in a grand slam decider.

2007 French Open
Federer's win over Nadal in the final in Hamburg heading into the French Open gave the Swiss hope after ending the Spaniard's 81-match winning streak on clay. But after beating Hewitt, Carlos Moya and Djokovic on his way to the decider, Nadal again proved too good for Federer in four sets.

2008 French Open
Nadal made it four in a row in 2008 in ruthless fashion. He lost just 25 games on his way to the semis before beating Djokovic. Federer again stood between him and the title, and the Spaniard handed his great rival a 6-1 6-3 6-0 thrashing.

2008 Wimbledon
The next meeting between the greats would prove far closer, far more entertaining and land Nadal his first grand slam title away from Roland Garros. After an epic lasting almost five hours, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in the fifth set on Centre Court to win the Wimbledon final in near darkness.

2009 Australian Open
Having risen to world number one for the first time in his career in August of the previous year, Nadal celebrated the top ranking by winning his first hard-court major. After a comfortable run to the last four, he edged Fernando Verdasco in an epic semi-final that lasted five hours, 14 minutes. Another four-plus hours and five sets were needed to get past Federer in the decider.

2010 French Open
Nadal suffered a first ever loss at Roland Garros the year prior, going down to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. But he reclaimed the title in 2010, beating Soderling in straight sets in the final. He did not drop a set on his way to the crown.

2010 Wimbledon
It would be a memorable 2010 for Nadal, who would win three majors in a single year for the only time in his career so far. His biggest test at the All England Club came from Philipp Petzschner in a five-setter in the third round before wins over Soderling, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych from the quarter-finals onwards.

2010 US Open
Nadal had never been beyond the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows before his first success in New York in 2010. It was a comfortable run before a four-set victory over Djokovic in the final completed his career Grand Slam.

2011 French Open
Djokovic was too good for Nadal in the Rome final before the French Open, but the Serbian fell to Federer in the semi-finals in Paris. Nadal survived a surprise five-set battle against John Isner in the first round before again beating Federer in the decider.

2012 French Open
Nadal had lost three consecutive major finals – all to Djokovic – before he turned that around at Roland Garros. After a comfortable run to the decider, he needed four sets to get past the Serbian for his record seventh French Open crown.

2013 French Open
Nadal and Djokovic met in a Paris epic the following year, this time in the semi-finals. Nadal edged a classic encounter 9-7 in the fifth before cruising past countryman David Ferrer in the decider.

2013 US Open
Djokovic would get his chance on his preferred surface in New York later that year, but Nadal proved too strong in four sets in the decider. Nadal dropped just two sets on his way to the title.

2014 French Open
Djokovic had again beaten Nadal in the Rome final, but again was unable to stop the Spaniard in Paris. Nadal was untroubled on his way to the decider before recovering from a set down in the final to again beat Djokovic. The 14th grand slam of his career saw him draw level with Pete Sampras on the all-time list.

2017 French Open
After going two years without a grand slam title, Nadal ended his 'drought' in Paris in 2017, claiming 'La Decima'. He did so without dropping a set, rushing past Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka in his final two matches. Nadal became the first man to win a single grand slam 10 times – and he remains the only one to manage that feat.

2017 US Open
More success would follow in New York in what was arguably one of the easiest runs to a major crown of Nadal's career. The highest ranked player Nadal faced was world number 28 Juan Martin del Potro in the semis before cruising past Kevin Anderson in the decider.

2018 French Open
Nadal was at it again in Paris the following year. He lost a set to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals but was otherwise relentless on his way to an 11th Roland Garros crown.

2019 French Open
Nadal was developing a new rivalry at the French Open, but it was not one to stop his success. He was again ruthless on his way to the final and for the second year in a row was too good for Thiem in the final.

2019 US Open
His run in New York was again comfortable, at least until he reached the final. Medvedev put up a huge fight in the decider, which eventually went Nadal's way after almost five hours on Arthur Ashe Stadium, as he closed to within one of Federer's 20 grand slams.

2020 French Open
Another year, another French Open title for Nadal. There was again no stopping the Spaniard as he romped through without losing a set, including demolishing Djokovic in the final.

2022 Australian Open
Nadal became the first man to win 21 grand slam titles with the unlikeliest of major crowns. Just months earlier, he had doubts over his career due to a foot injury. After reaching the final, a five-set quarter-final win over Denis Shapovalov his biggest test, Nadal produced an extraordinary comeback. After nearly five and a half hours, he came from two sets to love down against Medvedev to win the decider. He became the second man in the Open Era to win every grand slam at least twice, and was the first in the same period to come from two sets to love down and win an Australian Open final.

Rafael Nadal said winning a record 21st grand slam felt "just amazing" as he staged a mesmerising comeback to beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final.

The 35-year-old Spaniard won 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, snatching victory in a match that looked Medvedev's for the taking after two sets.

In the process, Nadal went past great rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on the all-time list of men's singles grand slam winners, just months after a foot injury left him with doubts over his future in tennis.

For Medvedev this was a second successive Australian Open final defeat, having lost to Djokovic 12 months ago, and his frustration was apparent over his failure to close out the match from two sets in front.

This was Nadal's second Australian Open title and first since 2009, when he beat Federer in another five-set tussle. At the end of this match, as Nadal celebrated, the great Laver himself was captured on television footage taking a photograph of the scene.

It was 01:32 on Monday morning in Melbourne when Nadal got his hands on the trophy, and as he addressed the crowd, he began: "Good evening everybody. Well, good morning at least."

Nadal had sympathy for Medvedev, describing the Russian as "an amazing champion". Reflecting on his own disappointments in Melbourne, where he has lost four finals, Nadal said: "I don't have any doubt you'll have this trophy a couple of times in your career because you're amazing."

Roared on by thousands of witnesses to history, Nadal told Medvedev: "It has been one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career, and to share this court with you is just an honour."

There were no tears from Nadal. He was briefly stumped for words to recognise his achievement, saying: "I even don't know what to say, guys.

"For me, it's just amazing. One month and a half ago I didn't know if I would be able to be back on the tour playing tennis again, and today I'm in front of you having this trophy with me.

"You really don't know how much I've fought to be here. Thank you so much for the love and the support. Without a doubt I am having probably one of the most emotional moments in my tennis career."

Nadal lost a five hours and 53 minutes epic against Djokovic in the 2012 Australian Open final. That remains the longest grand slam final in history, but this pushed it close.

The champion said the support he was shown in Melbourne would "stay in my heart for the rest of my life", before pointing again to his battle to get fit after the foot problem that forced him to abandon his 2021 season in August.

"One month and a half ago, I would have said maybe there is a chance that's going to be my last Australian Open," Nadal said. "But now that's plenty of energy to keep going, so thank you very much.

"I really can't explain the feelings I have right now, but I'm going to try my best to keep coming next year."

A humdinger of a final saw Medvedev force a two-set lead, only for Nadal to dramatically level the match, the 35-year-old rolling back the years.

Nadal broke early in the decider to lead 3-2 and then withstood fierce pressure from Medvedev in the next game.

It was astonishing that the Spaniard was outmanoeuvring a man 10 years his junior, and a player who beat Djokovic in straight sets in last year's US Open final.

At 5-4, Nadal had a service game to cross the winning line. Federer missed a chance to reach 21 slams when he could not take two championship points against Novak Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final, and this was a similar opportunity for Nadal.

At 30-15, he served a double fault, and Medvedev pounced on his chance, winning the next point after a fizzing forehand and smash, and the next when Nadal netted. The decider was back on serve, but Nadal was not finished, engineering three break points in the next game and jumping on the third of those, Medvedev hoisting a forehand long.

This time Nadal was not to be denied. When Medvedev could not scoop back a backhand volley, the title was Nadal's, and the broadest of smiles crossed his face.

Medvedev said defeat was "tough to take", but he added: "I want to congratulate Rafa because what he did today, I was amazed.

"I tried just to play tennis, but after the match I asked him, 'Are you tired?'.

"It was insane. I think the level was very high. You raised your level after two sets for the 21st grand slam. I thought he was going to get tried, and maybe you did just a little bit, but you're an amazing champion."

Looking at the race between Nadal, Djokovic and Federer to finish with the most slams, Medvedev said: "I think you guys have a good rivalry still. It's not over yet, but congrats."

Both men thanked tournament director Craig Tiley, who was close to the centre of the pre-tournament storm that saw Djokovic deported from Australia.

And Medvedev spared a thought for wife Daria, watching from home.

"Usually there's my wife in the [players'] box," he said, "but I think probably the TV's broken right now."

Already shaping as the unlikeliest grand slam success of his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal ensured it was just that after an extraordinary Australian Open final.

And what a time to deliver it, clinching a record-breaking 21st major title by beating Daniil Medvedev, breaking his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most grand slams won by a man.

Nadal himself admitted reaching the final in Melbourne was unexpected, having ended his 2021 in August and doubted his career due to a persistent foot injury.

That injury is not going away, making the success even more remarkable. After five hours and 24 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, history was made as Nadal secured a 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory.

From two sets to love down against a man 10 years younger, wrapping up at 01:11 local time (14:11 GMT).

 

Nadal had only won the Australian Open once before, in 2009. Now, he is the only champion to have ever come from two sets to love down to win in an Australian Open final in the Open Era.

Not only was Nadal two sets to love down, he faced 0-40 in the sixth game of the third set. He was also staring down an in-form opponent as Medvedev aimed to become the first man to follow up his maiden major title with another grand slam at his next event. But, spurred on by a vocal and enthusiastic Rod Laver Arena crowd, Nadal found a way. He found another level, as he has throughout his career. In fairness, Medvedev took his game up a level, too, at least until some madness in the ninth game of the third set.

That concentration lapse had cost him one set, and Medvedev was unable to deal with an increasingly excited – and sometimes disrespectful – crowd in the fourth, as well as a surging Nadal.

As Sunday ticked into Monday with the deciding set underway, Nadal broke the Medvedev serve with a forehand winner down the line in the fifth game. Even the best get nervous, though, and he relinquished that advantage when serving for the title. Yet like a typical champion, Nadal responded instantly, breaking again before serving it out to love.

In sets one and two, Nadal had 21 winners and 36 unforced errors, turning that into 48 and 32 respectively in the final three.

For just the third time in his illustrious career, Nadal had completed a comeback from two sets to love down at a grand slam. And he has now won every grand slam at least twice, becoming just the second man in the Open Era to manage that, alongside Djokovic.

Such a moment had seemed unlikely just months ago, when Nadal and his team had doubts over whether he would ever return to the ATP Tour due to his foot injury.

Nadal says those doubts remain, but his start to 2022 suggests he is, as ever, a contender as long as he remains on the court. However unlikely, even if looking impossible, Nadal is still capable of the absurd.

Rafael Nadal made history in stunning fashion as he came from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in the men's Australian Open final, sealing a record 21st grand slam title.

All the talk before the tournament had been about Novak Djokovic and whether the world number one would be able to compete to achieve the same feat, but it was Nadal who secured the historic victory at Rod Laver Arena, beating Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 in a marathon five hours and 24 minutes.

It is only the second Australian Open title of Nadal's decorated career but puts him out ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer (both 20) as the man to have won the most grand slams of all time.

He had looked down and out at times in the third set but showed typical determination to get better as the match went on, while Medvedev appeared to visibly tire as he saw his lead disappear into the night sky in Melbourne.

The first set began with Medvedev asking questions of Nadal, although initially the 35-year-old had answers with some classic forehand winners.

However, the unforced errors from the Spaniard began to pile up and he was broken to love in the fifth game. From there, Medvedev dominated the remainder of the opening set, breaking again and taking it 6-2.

It did not bode well for Nadal, who had won only three of his 10 prior major finals in which the opener had gone to his opponent.

The number six seed was struggling on his first serve, getting just 54 per cent in – his next lowest in a first set in this tournament had been 66 per cent in the second round win against Yannick Hanfmann.

Nadal showed some resilience, though, and hit a sensational winner at the end of a 40-shot rally in the fourth game of the second set, in which he ultimately broke Medvedev for the first time, only to be broken back to 4-3 as those serving struggles continued.

A back-and-forth affair saw four breaks of serve and the set ended with a tie-break, which Medvedev clinched with a backhand winner down the line to leave Nadal looking down the barrel of a defeat.

However, Nadal was not going to go down without a fight and showed some of his trademark grit in the third to stay with Medvedev, who was, if anything, playing even better than in the first two sets. Nadal had to save break points in the sixth game to eventually hold serve, before breaking in the ninth and serving out to somehow get back to within a set.

The drama did not stop in the fourth as two holds of serve were followed by three straight breaks to put Nadal 3-2 ahead. Both men were forced to save multiple break points thereafter, but Nadal successfully held serve to take it 6-4 and force a decider.

Medvedev looked to be wilting and was hanging on at the start of the fifth, before some superb Nadal winners earned a break in the fifth game.

The Russian made his opponent work hard for his victory and dramatically broke back to level when Nadal was serving for the championship, only for the veteran to break straight back before finally sealing the win and his place in the history books with a backhand volley that Medvedev could not return.

 

DATA SLAM: No Melbourne misery for Nadal

Nadal also becomes the second man in the Open Era – and only fourth in history – to win each grand slam at least twice, after Djokovic, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.

Despite still boasting an impressive overall record in grand slam finals at 20-8 going into this match, Nadal was 1-4 in Australian Open finals. He looked sure to make that 1-5 after the first two sets but showed remarkable fortitude to turn things around.

This was Medvedev's second Australian Open final defeat having lost to Djokovic last year, and his second grand slam final defeat to Nadal after losing to him at the 2019 US Open.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 69/68
Medvedev – 76/52

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 3/5
Medvedev – 23/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/22
Medvedev – 6/22

Daniil Medvedev described the three-man battle for grand slam history as "their thing, not mine" as he set his sights on denying Rafael Nadal a 21st major in Sunday's Australian Open final.

Russian Medvedev is the 6ft 6in obstacle blocking the route to history once again, just as he was at the US Open last September when he prevented Novak Djokovic becoming the first man to 21 and crushed the Serbian's hope of a first calendar sweep of the men's singles slams since Rod Laver's 1969 feat.

At the age of 25, Medvedev is 10 years Nadal's junior, and he has an awful long way to go before he is revered to the same degree as the 'Big Three' of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer.

But Medvedev is asserting himself as the leader of the pack that will drive the men's game forward over the next decade, and he will be fancied by many to topple Nadal this weekend in Melbourne.

This will be his fourth slam final, after losing a marathon five-set tussle against Nadal at the 2019 US Open, being beaten ruthlessly by Djokovic in the Australian Open last year, and then storming to glory in New York.

Asked about the fact he has always faced elite opposition in his finals, Medvedev said: "They are really strong, huh? It's really tough to get into the final, and I always have them there waiting for me.

"But it's fun. When I was like eight, 10 years old I was playing against the wall and I was imagining that it's Rafa on the other side, or Roger. Novak was still not yet there, I think.

"Now I have the chance to play him [in a major final] for a second time. The first one was a close one, an epic one. I need to show my best, because that's what I took from the three finals that I had before, that you have to do better than 100 per cent in order to win. That's what I managed to do in the US Open. That's what I'm going to try to do on Sunday."

Medvedev, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in four sets in their semi-final on Friday, says Nadal's pursuit of the all-time men's grand slam record would not impact upon his own game.

"I'll be honest, on me it doesn't [have an effect]," Medvedev said. "It's not me going for the 21st, not me trying to break these records.

"I'm going for my second one. I'm still far from all these things. I'm just trying to focus on myself, doing my job.

"I'm not lying, I know what's happening, I know what Rafa is going for, I knew what Novak was going for. But it's kind of their thing, not mine. I'm just there to try to win the final."

It is clear Medvedev, a fiery character, has enormous respect for Nadal's ability to hold back from letting his own feisty emotions boil over.

"We know what Rafa's mentality in life is like. I don't know if I should call it this way, but he's like a perfect guy," Medvedev told a news conference.

World number two Medvedev will be attempting to become the first man in the Open Era to follow his maiden grand slam singles title with another at the next major. He said it would be a "great battle" against Nadal, and Medvedev, who predicted Djokovic would be keeping a close eye on the match, would be happy to disrupt the fairy tale narrative.

The ever-popular Nadal is coming back from a foot injury and has surpassed most expectations by sweeping through the draw, chasing his second Australian Open title but first since 2009, when he beat Federer.

"They are the three biggest players in the world: Novak, Rafa, Roger," Medvedev said. "All have done amazing, amazing records.

"Some of them have more records in total. They have all the same slams. Somebody has more Davis Cup titles, somebody has more Roland Garros, Australian Open, whatever.

"Rafa, especially what he's done at Roland Garros [winning 13 French Open titles], I really doubt somebody could ever beat this. But on the other ones, he's really strong also. I think it's going to be a debate for 20 years to come, no matter even who has the most slams, who of them was better. I want to say, they're all amazing."

Daniil Medvedev is convinced Novak Djokovic will be glued to Sunday's Australian Open final, as the men's grand slam record goes on the line once more.

It was Medvedev who denied Djokovic a 21st singles major in the US Open final in September, inflicting a straight-sets defeat on the Serbian who was chasing a sweep of the 2021 grand slams.

Now Medvedev stands in the way of another of the 'Big Three', with Rafael Nadal also chasing a 21st slam and the outright lead on the all-time list.

Djokovic, Nadal and Federer each have 20 grand slam singles titles, and it remains to be seen whether any of that trio triumph again on the big stage, with Medvedev confirming himself as a leader of the upcoming generation.

The deportation of Djokovic from Australia before this tournament caused a major stir, denying the nine-time champion at Melbourne Park a run at history.

And all Djokovic can do is sit and watch from a distance, perhaps hoping for a Medvedev victory.

"I guess last time Rafa was watching near the TV, I don't know who he was cheering for," Medvedev said, harking back to the US Open. "But I think Novak will be watching this one in two days also."

The mention of Djokovic in Medvedev's on-court interview led to rumblings in the crowd, with many Australians having been glad to see him removed from the country when his visa was revoked.

When Djokovic was again mentioned in a follow-up interview with Eurosport, Medvedev said: "I'm definitely not going to think about this before or during the match. After the match, depending on the result, I'm going to think about him a little bit and about Roger probably also."

Medvedev's first taste of a grand slam final was against Nadal at the 2019 US Open, when the Russian lost a five-set thriller.

"We've played a few matches since then, and I'm ready," Medvedev said. "I know Rafa is a very strong player and I will need to show my best to try to win this match."

Medvedev, runner-up to Djokovic in Melbourne last year, aimed an outburst of anger towards umpire Jaume Campistol during the second set of his four-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday.

He was furious at Tsitsipas seemingly being coached by the Greek star's father from the players' box, but Medvedev quickly realised his own behaviour was unhelpful.

"I don't think emotions, bad emotions, help me too much and when I made it, many times I lose the match because of this," he said. "As soon as I did it, I was like, 'That was a big mistake'.

"But I'm happy I managed to re-concentrate for the beginning of the third set."

Having lost the second set, Medvedev snatched a crucial break at the end of the third, before cruising through the fourth to seal a 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory.

Medvedev said he had felt "so dead" after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in a near five-hour marathon in the quarter-finals, but his energy has been replenished.

"I'm happy today was not five hours, so I could recover faster for the next one," he said.

"I'm gonna play against one of the greatest, and what's funny is again I'm going to play someone going for the 21st slam."

Before the tussle with Nadal, Melbourne will be gripped by Ash Barty's own pursuit of history, bidding to become the first Australian since Chris O'Neil at the 1978 tournament to land the women's singles title.

Barty faces Danielle Collins on Saturday, and Medvedev, as is his wont, managed to rile some of Friday's crowd by being non-committal on whether he would watch Barty, whose title match begins at 19:30 local time (08:30 GMT).

"I'm usually going to dinner at 8.15pm," Medvedev said.

Urged by on-court interviewer Jim Courier to come up with a different answer, Medvedev added: "I'm going to watch it on my phone guys, I'm going to watch it."

Just months ago, there were doubts over Rafael Nadal's future. Now, he is a win away from a record-breaking major triumph.

Nadal overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in the Australian Open semi-finals on Friday, reaching his 29th grand slam decider.

The Spaniard is a win away from a 21st grand slam title, which would break his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most won by a man.

Such events looked incredibly unlikely just months ago.

Nadal ended his 2021 season in August after playing just seven events, a persistent foot injury not only derailing his season but threatening his career.

"Everybody around me, me included, of course, but everybody around me had a lot of doubts. Not about the Australian Open, no, but about coming back on the Tour because the foot was bothering me a lot of days," Nadal said after his third-round win over Karen Khachanov.

"Of course, still today there are doubts because the foot, as I said the other day, is an injury we cannot fix … so we need to find a way that the pain is under control to play, to keep playing. That's the goal.

"Honestly, I was not able to practice very often. But when I was practising, the feeling on the ball was quite good. There have been a lot of months without competing. The movements, all this stuff, you need to recover day by day. There is no way to recover those things without competing. That's what I need, keep playing. Already three and three, so six matches on my back, and positive ones. Every day a little bit better, so I'm happy for that."

 

After a four-month absence, Nadal made his return at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi in December. Days later, he tested positive for COVID-19.

Still, he made the trip to Australia, winning his 89th ATP Tour title at the Melbourne Summer Set, his first hard-court crown since February 2020.

That success was incredible, given Nadal played just 14 tournaments in total in 2020 and 2021.

"Of course, when you are getting a little bit older, all the comebacks are tougher," Nadal said after beating Marcos Giron in the opening round. "This has been especially, well, difficult because it's not only a comeback from an injury, it's a comeback trying to be back on the Tour after almost two years playing not many events with the virus.

"If you remember in 2020 I only played here and Acapulco, then I just played in Rome, Roland Garros, Paris and London. Six events.

"In 2021 I played just here and then [it] was clay, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros. Washington, yeah. Another six events – 12 events in two years are not many. If we add that I was not able to practice very often, too, it's a really tough one, no?

"But here I am. I am super happy about all the work that we have done to try to be back. We are here enjoying the tennis, and that's it. We're going to keep trying hard."

Nadal is back. Not just back playing, but back fighting his way into grand slam finals, and back in position to make more history.

Rafael Nadal insisted his run to the Australian Open final was "completely unexpected" after moving to within a win of a record-breaking grand slam title.

Nadal, 35, overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in their semi-final under the Rod Laver Arena roof on Friday.

After doubts over his career due to a persistent foot injury, Nadal is into a 29th grand slam final and a win away from a 21st major crown, which would break a tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most won by a man.

The Spaniard said he had no expectations to reach the decider in Melbourne, where Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas await.

"For me it's something completely unexpected, so I am super happy. Of course everybody knows me, and I'm always going to try my best. Of course my goal now is to win," Nadal told a news conference.

"As I said, for me, it's a present, just be here and play tennis. I am taking now things a little bit in a different way, of course always with competitive spirit that I have, because I can't go against that. It's my personal DNA.

"But in some way, I don't know, just be what I am and be able to have the chance to compete at this level, it's a positive energy for me to keep going, because at the end of the day, and being very honest, for me it's much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win the 21. Because that makes me more happy in terms of general life to be able to do the thing that I like to do more than achieving another grand slam.

"At the end of the day, life, it's about happiness and what makes me happy. It's about just having the chance to do what I like to do."

 

Nadal ended his 2021 season in August and, after a four-month absence, returned for an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last month.

He claimed his 89th ATP Tour title in Melbourne earlier this month before progressing to the Australian Open final.

"I feel alive in terms of my tennis life, you know, in terms of my tennis career," Nadal said.

"In my personal life, I honestly have a good life. I feel lucky that my family is healthy, and during these challenging times that's everything. More important than tennis, for sure. 100 per cent.

"But, yeah, I explained before, for a long time I wasn't able to practice. Sometimes I went on court and I was able to practice 20 minutes, sometimes 45, sometimes zero, sometimes two hours, but have been very, very rough in terms of imagining myself playing at the best-of-five at this moment.

"So, yeah, I don't know. Super happy. It's true that I worked hard for a long time every single day in terms of when I was not able to play tennis I was working hard in the gym.

"I think I'm never going to say I deserve, because a lot of people deserve. But I worked the proper way, and I hold the positive spirit and attitude to have the chance to give myself a chance to be back."

Rafael Nadal is a win away from a record-breaking 21st grand slam title after getting past Matteo Berrettini to reach the Australian Open final on Friday.

Nadal overcame the Italian seventh seed 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 after two hours, 55 minutes under the Rod Laver Arena roof in their semi-final on a stormy day in Melbourne.

The Spanish star will face either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the decider, in which he can break the record for most grand slam titles won by a man.

Nadal had won his only previous meeting with Berrettini and he targeted the Italian's backhand from the outset, and it worked wonders.

Berrettini, however, fought hard and forced a fourth set against Nadal, who reached his sixth Australian Open final and 29th major decider, a tally only bettered by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (31 each).

 

Nadal targeted the Berrettini backhand from the start, and it helped yield a break in the second game.

Back-to-back unforced errors from that wing, the second pulled wide, from Berrettini handed Nadal a 2-0 lead.

That break proved to be enough for Nadal in a 43-minute opening set, closed out despite Berrettini briefly threatening in the ninth game.

Perhaps still recovering from the disappointment of the first set, Berrettini was broken to start the second, three unforced errors – two from a forehand side that had appeared capable of doing damage to Nadal – giving the Spaniard a break point he converted with a forehand winner.

Berrettini had no answers to Nadal's consistency and relentlessness and even his forehand was beginning to let him down as he fell 3-0 behind in the second set, a deficit he was never going to recover from.

Nadal was unable to pull away early in the third set and instead it was Berrettini, suddenly sparked to life and looking far more energetic, who struck to break for 5-3.

A running forehand pass down the line helped set up the break chance and Berrettini delivered a forehand winner before serving it out to love.

Berrettini went on a run of winning 23 consecutive points on serve, but when that was ended in the eighth game of the fourth set, he found trouble.

He saved a break point after a 23-shot rally but then netted consecutive forehands to fall 5-3 behind, Nadal closing out his victory to reach the final.

 

DATA SLAM: Nadal showing no signs of slowing down

Even at 35, Nadal has reached yet another grand slam final.

He became the fifth man aged 35 or older to reach a grand slam final in the Open Era, after Federer, Ken Rosewall, Mal Anderson and Andre Agassi.

The win over Berrettini also saw Nadal beat a top-10 player at the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 28/19
Berrettini – 38/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/2
Berrettini – 14/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 4/8
Berrettini – 1/2

Rafael Nadal almost pulled out of the Australian Open just days before heading to Melbourne, according to his uncle.

The 35-year-old battled past Denis Shapovalov on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for just the third time since 2016.

Nadal, who is chasing a record 21st grand slam title to break the three-way tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, has only won the first major of the year once in his career – back in 2009 – and lost at the quarter-final stage in 2020 and 2021.

Even with nine-time champion Djokovic not competing after being deported by border authorities over a visa dispute, few considered Nadal to be the favourite for the title this year given he went from August to December in 2021 without playing a match, having undergone surgery on a foot injury.

Nadal has looked in strong form, though, even recovering from apparent stomach trouble and difficulty in the heat to beat Shapovalov 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 after more than four hours of action on Rod Laver Arena.

Toni Nadal, his coach for most of his professional career, said his nephew nearly decided against competing at all in Australia as he did not feel ready.

Asked if he were surprised by Nadal's form, he told Cadena SER: "Yes, I'm surprised, because I remember when three days before the start, Rafa called my youngest son to hit a few balls after being quarantined due to coronavirus.

"At nine o'clock, we went to train and during training, he said, 'I don't know if I'm going to go or not because at the moment I'm not in condition for an Australian Open'. They only had three days to get a flight.

"The following day, he perked up and said 'Okay, come on, I'm going'. I think it was more the excitement of competing and returning to competition than believing in himself."

Speaking about the quarter-final, Toni Nadal said his brother in Australia told the family about the problems with the heat on court.

"He looked good. In the first two sets, he played at quite a good level against a tough opponent," he said.

"Everything changed as a result of heatstroke. We were watching the game with the family and at one point, after the second set, I said, 'well, I think this is done', and my brother in Australia said no, he's literally exhausted, and he'd told them he had had heatstroke."

Shapovalov lost his temper with umpire Carlos Bernardes during the match for refusing to give Nadal a time violation during a change of ends, proclaiming "You guys are all corrupt" before claiming post-match that players such as Nadal receive preferential treatment on court.

 

"I think he is totally wrong," said Toni. "When you have to change, you need time and the umpire normally looks at the players and sees the time and starts the clock later. He pressed too soon, realised it and that's why he gave Rafa more time.

"Young people sometimes act without thinking. How could an umpire be corrupt?"

Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian man to reach the Australian Open semi-finals after outlasting Gael Monfils on Tuesday.

Berrettini had appeared to be on course for a dominant victory, and although Monfils fought back to make it tough, the 25-year-old got the job done 6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-2 in a gruelling encounter.

Monfils had an uphill struggle amid a sloppy start, with Berrettini breaking to love in the fifth game as the Frenchman committed two unforced errors and a double fault.

That proved to be the only opportunity Berrettini needed, and he subsequently had few issues seeing out the set from there, though Monfils initially appeared sharper early in the second.

An astonishing fourth game then left Monfils looking dejected as Berrettini somehow survived 10 deuces to hold serve after almost 20 minutes – the 25 points played here were almost half the first-set total (55).

Berrettini sensed the mood and went for the kill, losing just two points on serve before going on to close out the set to love.

A reaction did come, however. Monfils finally got his first break of serve as Berrettini's first double fault gifted him a lifeline, the 35-year-old then easing through the rest of the third set.

He kept that up in the fourth as well, with two huge forehand winners helping Monfils go a break up to take charge before ultimately levelling the match, but Berrettini had too much in the decider as he broke in the first game.

Berrettini raced into a 4-0 lead and, although Monfils did pull a couple of games back, the Italian was out of sight and clinched a deserved victory that saw him grab a slice of history.

DATA SLAM: Berrettini holds his nerve at the crucial moment

Having lost the previous two sets heading into the decider, it could have been very tempting for Berrettini to completely change up his game, but he remained very focused on accuracy and essentially letting Monfils shoot himself in the foot.

Berrettini made no double faults and just four unforced errors in the final set, compared to Monfils' combined total of 11, 10 of which came during rallies. The Italian won 80 per cent of his points on serve in the fifth and that mentality was crucial in outlasting his opponent.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Berrettini – 51/50

Monfils – 48/51

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Berrettini – 12/2

Monfils – 15/7

BREAK POINTS WON

Berrettini – 4/11

Monfils – 3/14

Rafael Nadal's happiness does not depend on finishing his career with more grand slam titles than rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Nadal edged out Denis Shapovalov in a five-set epic on Tuesday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The Spaniard has only won the season's opening grand slam once, back in 2009. However, the field has opened up for him this year, with reigning champion Djokovic unable to compete and 40-year-old Federer taking his time to return from knee surgery.

Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are all tied on 20 grand slams each, meaning the next of the trio to win a major will set a new record.

While Nadal is hoping to go all the way in Melbourne, he insisted his career satisfaction does not depend on being the record holder.

"The fact that we are equal at 20, the only thing that says is that we share an amazing [time] of the history of our sport, and for me it's a real honour to be part of it, without a doubt," he said.

"I don't hope for anything. I just keep going. I am just enjoying playing tennis, as I said hundreds of times. Honestly, and from the bottom of my heart, I really don't [have certain expectations].

"Of course, I want to keep winning, but more than because I want to achieve or I want to have more than the others, because I love what I am doing. I want to keep doing this as long as possible.

 

"The last six months there have been a lot of doubts if I would be able to keep going. But now I feel good. We are in a position that I won a tournament, I'm in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, so that's amazing for me.

"In terms of what can happen in the future, honestly I really don't care that much. I don't believe that my happiness, my future happiness depends on if I achieve one more grand slam than the others or if the others achieve more grand slams than me.

"No, I am super satisfied and feel very lucky for all the things that happen to me. I have a way to approach life. You can't be always frustrated if the neighbour has a bigger house than you or a better phone or a better thing, no? I'm not going to be frustrated if Novak or Roger finishes their careers with more grand slams than me.

"Let's enjoy the situation, every one of us, we did very special things in our sport. Let's enjoy that."

Nadal lost to Djokovic in the Melbourne final in 2019. He has reached the showpiece match five times in total.

The world number five had not played a competitive game since August last year before he returned to action earlier this month, winning the Melbourne Summer Set.

Nadal had dropped just one set across the opening four rounds prior to his clash with Shapovalov, which finished 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3.

"Yeah, I have been playing well," Nadal added. "To play at this level against a player like [Shapovalov], that he's one of the best players of the world, and see myself again competitive against these kinds of players, for me it's everything.

"I'm just enjoying every single moment, try my best playing with the highest positive attitude possible and with the right spirit."

Rafael Nadal shot down Denis Shapovalov's suggestion that he receives special treatment from umpires after an epic Australian Open quarter-final tussle.

Shapovalov fell short of an incredible comeback against the record-chasing Nadal, who prevailed 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 after over four hours of action on Rod Laver Arena.

The match was full of tension, with Shapovalov furious that Nadal escaped a time violation for taking too long between the first and second sets. 

After umpire Carlos Bernardes refused to call time on Nadal's changeover, Shapovalov lost his temper, bursting out: "You guys are all corrupt."

The players subsequently met at the net for a discussion, but Shapovalov was frustrated again when, before the deciding set, Nadal left the court for a medical timeout having struggled with a stomach issue, but then also had a toilet break.

Asked in his post-match news conference if he felt Nadal received preferential treatment, Shapovalov said: "Of course. 100 per cent he does. 100 per cent."

Shapovalov's comments were put to Nadal in the Spaniard's own media conference.

"No. Not in that case, no, no," Nadal responded.

"I really believe that on the court you don't deserve better treatment than the others. I really don't want it and I don't feel I have it.

"Without a doubt, even as everybody knows, I have a huge respect for Carlos and I think he's a great umpire. Is it not the case that he was always hard with me on court, no?

"I really believe that it's always in the mind that the top players get bigger advantages. And on the court it's not true. That's my feeling. I never feel that I had advantages on the court, and I really believe that he's wrong in that case.

 

"I honestly feel sorry for him. I think he played a great match for a long time. Of course, it's tough to accept to lose a match like this, especially after I was feeling destroyed and probably he felt that, [but] then I was able to manage to win the match.

"I wish him all the very best. He's young, I think we all make mistakes on our careers. I made a lot of mistakes too when I was younger, and probably he will understand later on after he thinks the proper way that probably he was not right today."

Nadal also explained why he had to be given an extended amount of time in the changeover between the first and second sets.

"I took some extra time at the end of the first set because I had to change everything there on the chair, in the changeover," he said.

"I think in that case normally at the end of the sets the umpire gives you some extra time, especially under these very humid conditions to change the clothes, because that's obvious that you can't play with the clothes in the condition that I was [in].

"I think in that moment Denis got p***** because the umpire called time and I needed like 30 seconds extra to keep changing my clothes.

"I think it's fair that Carlos gave me this extra time at that moment. I think Carlos made a small mistake in calling time. Normally at the end of the set, the umpire looks around and waits a little bit to call time until the player is a little bit ready when he's changing, no?

"Denis was wrong in that case. I understand that he just lost the set and in some way he wanted to keep playing quick, but I think he understands that normally you have some time to change your clothes."

Nadal improved his record in grand slam quarter-finals to 36-9. He is now 7-7 in Australian Open quarter-finals after surviving the Shapovalov battle, far worse than his record at the French Open (14-1), Wimbledon (7-0) and US Open (8-1).

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