Australian Open 2022 Recap: No-Vax Djokovic, Aussie Rules, and Rafael Nadal’s Fight Back to Get to 21 - Play

If this first grand slam was a hint of things to come, 2022 will be a fun ride.

Describing it as one of the most emotional matches of his career, Rafael Nadal finally got his 21st grand slam singles title in Melbourne. This he accomplished after a five-hour-24-minute come-from-behind 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win against Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open final.

READ ALSO: The Serve: Tennis Teen Star Alex Eala On Surviving COVID, Playing At The SEA Games, And An Exciting Year Ahead

This win allowed him to break the three-way-tie between him, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic in the number of singles championships.

Nadal also becomes the second man in the Open era to achieve a double career grand slam. The other man to do so? Djokovic, who was in the headlines even before the first Grand Slam of the year started. The Serbian’s Australian Visa was revoked twice for not qualifying for a medical exemption for his unvaccinated status.

The situation extended to beyond tennis, with even Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claiming that the Australian government harassed and maltreated Djokovic. It is unclear how the world number one’s camp will proceed the rest of the year, or even if he will get to play in the next grand slam in Paris.

“I don’t even know what to say guys,” the former world number one from Spain says during the trophy presentation. “For me, it’s just amazing… one month and a half ago I didn’t even know if I would be back on the tour playing tennis again. And today, I am here in front of all of you having this trophy with me. You really don’t know how much I [fought] to be here.”

Nadal took months off after his loss at last year’s French Open, and played only one tournament, citing a recurring left foot injury. But he started the year hot, winning Melbourne Summer Set 1 for his 89th career title.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Australian Open (@australianopen)

On the women’s side, hometown hero and world number one Ashleigh Barty dominated a Serena Williams-less field. The Australian had a comeback of her own in the second set of her match against American Danielle Collins, winning 6-3, 7-6 (2).  

The former cricketer’s win broke a 44-year dry spell for Australians winning the championship at Melbourne Park. Evonne Goolagong, the Australian champion who won the title four times in the 1970s, presented the Daphne Akhurst trophy to Barty in the ceremony.

“I think as an Aussie, the most important part of this tournament is being able to share it with so many people,” the 25-year-old says after receiving her prize, “and you guys today in the crowd have been nothing shy of exceptional.”

While Medvedev might disagree though, a few more Aussie players who did well in the past two weeks would echo Barty’s sentiments. Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, who got the crowd into a frenzy during a heated match a few days ago, beat Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in an all-Aussie men’s doubles final.

In the mixed doubles, another Aussie pair did well. Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler made it all the way to the final, but bowed out to the seeded French-Croatian team up of Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig. Meanwhile, Czechs Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková won over Kazahk Anna Danilina and Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia in the women’s doubles final.

If this first major of the year is any indication, the vibe for the rest of 2022 seems auspicious enough that it can turn career decisions around.

“One month and a half [ago] probably I will say that maybe there is a chance that that’s going to be my last Australian open,” Nadal says, “but now that’s plenty of energy to keep going so thank you very much.”

Banner Photo from @AustralianOpen on IG

Shop for LIFESTYLE ASIA’S magazines through these platforms.
Download LIFESTYLE ASIA’s digital magazines from:
Subscribe via [email protected]