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Over 5 fucking hours. Also so very similar to Rogers run at 2017. 35 years of age, coming back from a possible career ending injury and to set a new GS record. VAMOS
True hadn't thought of that similarity, sad that Roger is no longer justifiably "the best" but adds another slam for Novak to get to be called "the best" so good news in my books. What a way to do it!
I mean realistically Novak is already the statistically the best, there's not much u can say for that. Roger will always be the best I've ever seen play tho. And this from Rafa was legendary. All in all what an insane era of tennis
Statistically Novak is aided massively by the majority of tournaments being on his favoured surface. Rafa on clay is undisputably the highest level anyone has ever reached in tennis from a statistical view point.
Not saying that makes Rafa the best, but just pointing out that there's too much to consider before you start making statements about who is the best.
Yeah imagine how many slams he’d have if there were two on clay
I just checked what would happen if we took out one of the two hard court slams, leaving one hard, one grass and one clay slam, to have a balanced amount of surfaces.
Eliminating the US Open, Nadal and Djokovic would be tied in slams with 17 and Roger would be at 15.
Eliminating the AO, Nadal would be at 19, Roger at 14, and Djokovic at 11.
Or taking the average of both results, Nadal would be at 18, Roger at 14/15, and Novak at 14.
But the entire reason why the 21 Grand Slams record of Nadal doesnt make him undisputably the best is because he won Roland Garros 13 times. On one surface in which he is just out of this world.
The absolute best is a conversation we really shouldn't have, it really takes away from the three. Well, unless Nadal goed to like 25. Or Novak.
Maybe we should just discuss on more specific topics. Most talented? Federer. Best mentality (of all sport ever even)? Nadal. Highest level I have ever seen? Djokovic.
All subjective at this point, all three are the best ever.
"all three are the best ever"
Here's a take I can get behind.
And what's great is that we can acknowledge that all are the goat while still having our favorite. Fed is my guy. I love how he plays tennis.
I've always thought that Fed is the ideal tennis player as designed by God, Nadal is the ideal tennis player if designed by man, Djokovic is the ideal tennis player if designed by AI.
That's oddly poetic.
Yeah this is also definitely true. Regardless of whether I agree with you on each of the individual topics too, I like this way of thinking about it.
The same is true for Djokovic though, on surfaces that aren't their best they both have 8 titles, the only difference is that Djokovic has 1 less title on his preferred surface while getting literally twice as many opportunities every year on that surface as Nadal does on clay. If their was 2 clay courts and only 1 hard court Slam then Nadal would likely be the undisputed GOAT while the same can't be said of Djokovic because that situation is the reality for him and there's still a debate.
>but just pointing out that there's too much to consider before you start making statements like yours.
Not really . Rafa is the best there ever was on clay. But novak is easily the second/third best. Major finals/semifinals are also massively in his favour. Yes there are more tournaments on hardcourts but that's where most of tennis is played. It would be a good argument if novak is not very good on grass/clay but that isn't the case.
>Rafa on clay is undisputably the highest level anyone has ever reached in tennis.
This i can agree with though
Most tournament wins? Roger
Longest number 1 in a row? Roger
Most Grand Slams? Rafa
Olympic Medals? Roger and Rafa
Win percentage? Rafa and Djokovic tied
Federer also has most consecutive weeks at number 1
That's true. I don't think the next generation will not have players like this.
Last time I checked 21 > 20.
Rafa unquestionably best on clay but Federer for me tops it overall
Fwderer will always me my goat as well. Got the most joy watching him
Realistically Novak was about done with his health . Came back with only going gluten free and put on 20+ lbs of muscle and went from barely able to handle 3 or 4 sets to being the best athlete. Realistically he is doing his ass off to be comparable to fed or nadal
It came on 2:30 am my time, Texas... I wake up at 7:00 for the dog, turned on the TV to catch the highlights, and ended up getting to watch the final hour lol. What a f*ckin' match!!
what a champ
to do that coming back from injury at 35
Was down 2 sets as well. And did it at the Australian open which has always been his toughest of the big 4. What a way to get 21.
Now Nadal has a double Career Grand Slam, joining Djokovic.
At least 2 of each Slam.
Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only other two to have done that in men's singles. Laver at least was watching Nadal join them live from the crowd. One wonders if Mr Deported had the TV on at home...
He dun like to open the telly. That's how they get ya. Plus ya know, all them microwaves and such
And somehow being able to hold 0-40 in the 3rd set at 3-2. If he made one mistake during that game it would've all been over. So crazy.
And he lost the break after being two points away from the championship, then fought back to break again and serve it out for the title, well into the 6th hour of the match.
Against someone a decade younger than him too. Absolutely remarkable.
Whilst having snipers trained at him that he had to dodge along with two sharks nipping at his heels.
And being smart and brave enough for getting vaccinated
Publicly supporting the vaccine too
Sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.
Got one back for the 2017 final he lost to Federer after being a break up in the 5th
My nerves are wrecked following this 5 hour 21 min marathon. Well played and Nadal proving yet again he is a fantastic freak of nature.
Unpopular opinion perhaps, but I think this AO was better without Djocevic in it
I would have enjoyed a 5 setter between djoko and Nadal equally if it wasn't for all the baggage that game would have come up with.
This guy's mental toughness, tenacity and fighting spirit is quite possibly unmatched amongst the greatest of the greatest athletes.
I agree. It is his strongest feature, mentally he's really out of this world.
I though his strongest feature was his freakishly disproportionately huge left arm.
Wait, is that not a third leg?
21 Grand Slam titles - absolutely incredible but so well deserved.
He is a true champion!
His mental fortitude is just incredible. One of the greatest in all sports.
He’s a beast. The word “inspiring” gets thrown around a lot but his fortitude truly is
Man I’ve never watched a tennis game before but I was glued to my seat and shaking by the final sets.
Happy capybara noises congratulations Nadal on your 2nd AO title
How many finals did he lose in-between those two titles?
He lost 5 between those 2 titles. Djoko went berserk in aus open for a while.
Edit - he lost 4. Commentator mentioned he has been in finals 6 times and I forgot to include the one he just won.
I think 4. Don’t quote me on that tho
Not as many as Andy Murray.
5 Australian Open finals, no wins... and 8 finals appearances without wins. That's rough!
Lost against the best though. Plus he still won 3, two of which were against a prime Djokovic
Poor guy, if he has been born a decade earlier or later he would have double digit slams. Guy was the best 4th best player we’ll ever see imo.
Has anyone ever won a specific major in one decade, not one it in the next, then won it again in the *following* decade?
Seems insane to me
Actually, yes. This 13 year gap between drinks for Nadal has only been equalled or exceeded by one other player - through they did it three times, two of which skipped whole decades.
The player is Ken Rosewall. He won one French, one US and two Australian titles in the amateur era in the 50s, before coming back and winning a French Open, a US Open and two Australian Opens in the late 60s / early 70s. He won the 1968 French Open, the first major of the open era, 15 years after winning there as an amateur. There was a 14 year gap between his two US wins, skipping the entire 1960s, and a 16 year gap between his 2nd and 3rd Australian wins, also skipping the entire 60s.
The huge gaps were because Rosewall went pro in 1957 and so was blocked from playing 'amateur' tournaments. Had the majors not held out so long in going open, he would likely have won sooner and so Nadal's 13 year gap would be uncontested.
Nadal is a Mentality monster. From being 2 sets down to winning his 21st slam. 5 hours of pure tennis and i think i had 5 mini strokes during this
Especially the longer rallies. Medvedev could claw some games with his stronger serves. But the second the rallies went on in the later sets, the pure mental game from Rafa crushes it.
One rally went upto 40 shots and I cried a little because I really witnessed that
Absolutely mental. What a generation of tennis we have lived through to see the Big 3 for so many years. Is this the mighty conclusion of it all, 21 majors at 35 years old? What a champion and talent.
He’s the favorite at Roland Garros until he retires. Even when he stops being a threat at the other majors he’ll still be a serious contender there.
Thought you were about to say "he's the favourite at Roland Garros even after he retires" haha. Hard to argue either way
Shit I'd throw $20 on Nadal to win the French Open even if he died.
Agreed, Rafa's corpse is still world #1 on clay.
When he retires a hole will open in the earth and swallow Roland Garros so they can retire together.
I feel for Thiem. He’d have at least one French Open title, and probably multiple, if it weren’t for Nadal.
Nadal’s French Open dominance has denied so many players major titles. Four wins over Federer, four over Djokovic, two over Thiem, plus Wawrinka for good measure. Really incredible.
That makes me wonder how many more French opens Federer and Djokovic would've won had it not been for Nadal.
Man loves his clay
Honestly if I was him I would focus almost entirely on the next 2/3 French Opens from here and see if his knees can make it to 23 or so titles. Especially if Novak isn’t allowed into the French he could be at 22 in just a few months.
But if he followed that advice a few weeks ago he wouldn't have won this major! So tough to predict the right conditions/field, that I think still doing as many as he can (without pushing too hard on health) gives him the best odds of getting more.
Especially when you’re described your entire career as only a clay court specialist then you want to go elsewhere and prove those comments wrong.
I mean the man just won a major on hard court today seems a bit premature to just pull the ripcord lmao
Or at least skip Wimbledon where Novak will likely play and do the US Open that suit him more than AO actually and Novak isn‘t guaranteed to play. And then redo everything in 2023 increasing focus on the french open if his body starts to taper. But as we know this guy was supposed to peak 28 yo according to
Yeah I guess that's basically what Federer is doing now too.....
Chill out the whole year and just turn up for Wimbledon and maaybe another Slam before as a warmup....
Gaaradal gotta do his thing.
If he can stay healthy. He'll probably abstain from as many hardcourt tournaments leading up to the FO. Likely play at Indian Wells and/or Miami; then ramp up for the clay season with Madrid, and maybe Rome and Monaco. Then, like last year, skip all grass season to prep for the US Open. I don't think he's all that concerned with his ranking.
> Is this the mighty conclusion of it all
Djokovic is still ranked nr. 1 and Nadal will enter Roland Garros as the favourite. The saga continues a little while longer.
However, Federer will gazump both of them to win his 21st Slam, mark my words.
If Fed takes 21 now it will be the most remarkable achievement at a single slam in tennis history.
I believe in Fed
He’s the GOAT in my heart
And Djokovic still has atleast 1/2 a year till he can compete at a Slam again
(banned from France, idk about Wimbledon or the US)
The US will absolutely let him in. Not sure about the UK.
The UK haven’t had a restriction in a year, he’ll be fine
For US, it’s also a question of NYS & NYC allowing it. With the new mayor, NYC will probably be okay but NYS isn’t a definite
That is true...I just get the feeling that here in the States money will talk ultimately.
I’m not 100% sure, but he might not be able to play at the US Open either. I believe New York has a rule in place about unvaccinated persons not being allowed in sports venues. Kyrie Irving isn’t allowed to play home games for the Nets because he is unvaccinated.
One of the greatest comebacks in the history of tennis.
This decade alone has had some of the greatest comebacls of all-time.
Djokovic 15-40 Federer
Patriots 3 - 28 Falcons
Cavaliers 1 - 3 Warriors
Roma versus Barcelona 2nd leg
Liverpool versus Barcelona 2nd leg
How do you miss Barcelona vs PSG 6-1 in that list? Must be a Madrid fan.
The only crazier football comeback I’ve seen live was MAD-ATM UCL final
If you’re putting Liverpool in there you have to include spurs v Ajax that same year
Man, there’s nowhere to escape this huh. Still haunts me to this day.
Also Barcelona vs PSG and my golf watching friends tells me that what Tiger Woods did was incredible.
2019 England vs Scotland rugby Six nations was a crazy comeback for any rugby fans
None of those were this decade
As a Liverpool supporter for 19 years, oooooh yes.
[This is the greatest comeback.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TZNv86-OmI)
Headingly test England Australia as well
He was down 3 breaks in the 6th game of the third set trailing 2-0 in sets just unreal
did i really just witness that
Unbelievable final match
Brilliant match and incredible result! He’s only been back playing since mid-December after ending his 2021 season early due to a foot injury. Vamos Rafa!
And he had covid just before coming out to Australia.
It's 1am in melbourne and i got work in 5 hours.. worth it
For real why do they start the night games so late? I'm on Pacific time, so it's 12:30am for me, but it doesn't even seem like a good time in Melbourne...
It's been STEAMY in Melbourne recently. Not fair for the competitors (and not considered hot enough to close the roof either which sucks).
There’s this thing in Melbourne, called heat.
I live on Mallorca in Spain, where Nadal is from. It’s a beyond beautiful island and I highly recommend everyone visits for the beach, culture, and food. But also while here check out the Rafa Nadal experience. He has set up an amazing academy and interactive museum in his hometown of Manacor and is generally cherished here. You may even get lucky enough to see him on the practice courts.
How’s the atmosphere in Mallorca right now?
The reverse sweep!
Djokovic really gonna miss out on the all time majors record because he’s an anti-vaxxer. What a timeline.
Dude didn't even need to get vaxxed. Just keeping his mouth shut about the exception and arriving quietly would've done the trick. But he had to be an idiot.
You’re talking about anti vaxxers here, are they ever quiet? The ole saying “how do you know someone is anti vaxx?” They will tell you, over and over and embarrass themselves.
Thing is he has had been quiet till then. Whenever asked about his vaccination status he said it was private and that the whole matter was a personal choice that everyone should make for themselves. He didn't tell people to get vaxxed or not get vaxxed, he didn't argue either way. It was of course easy to assume he wasn't vaxxed but he certainly didn't wanna be loud about it. It's why depending on your definition for many he's not even an anti-vaxxer since he doesn't loudly campaign against them.
So him saying it openly like that, I think he really didn't think about the potential reaction. That it was meant to me an innocent update that he didn't quite think through.
Really though, when someone says "it's private" that probably means they're unvaxxed 99% of the time.
That wouldn't have worked. There was no exception for people who had Covid. His "helpers" obviously had no clue but figured he'd gain entry because he's so great.
Plus Novak had his head so far up his butt that he thought no one would check his [fraudulent paperwork](https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.abc.net.au/article/100790060).
This whole attitude made me lose a lot of respect for him.
What a dumbass 🙄
Understatement of the century
It'll be his record eventually, but I'm glad Rafa gets to be at the top for a little bit.
I really cant pick a GOAT between the 3. Partial to Rog, top 3 men’s tennis players ever playing at the same time. Unbelievable.
For me Novak has to beat Nadal by 3-4 to pass him. Nadal had to play with his career bookended by Fed and Novak’s primes and he had to play 3 of 4 majors on surfaces that don’t benefit him. If Novak just stacks up trophies against a 30+ Nadal and the next gen that haven’t lived up to their potential then they don’t count the same to me.
Exactly this and I feel like it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. Novak has by far had the easiest path to these grand slams. Obviously he’s an all time great as well but he got to mostly avoid peak Roger years and the back end of of his career he doesn’t have to play either at their peak plus he rarely has to even get past both at this point.
It’s so complicated though, which is why the race is as fascinating as it is. For example, can you be sure Federer’s prime was 2003-2007? Yes, he was cleaning up the titles, but arguably he’s tweaked/added to his game since then, which is why his record against Nadal has been better since 2015 than it was earlier in his career (although Fed has lost a step of pace). His record against Andy Murray was also worse at the beginning of their head-to-heads than it is now. He’s won fewer Grand Slams in the 2010s but, when you look at the stats, that’s almost entirely down to Djokovic.
As for how easy each “era” of competition is, could you genuinely guess how, say, peak Hewitt vs current Medvedev would go? I certainly can’t. We really are in a golden age of men’s tennis
Well, to be fair, it seems like peak Hewitt would beat peak Medvedev just in terms of tenacity and never ever giving up. Now, if I could pick a player to develop with some helpful team, then it would be Nalbandian.. beast when he brung it, or when the Madrid ball people were models.
>against a 30+ Nadal
Djokovic is 34. Nadal is 35. Why do people act like there’s some massive age difference when there isn’t lol
Because Nadal has been injured or recovering for like half his career
You're saying that he's the best because he's great on one of three surfaces (and admittedly very very good on the other two, just not to the level of Fed and.Novak)? That's an interesting take.
More so pointing out that grass and hardcourt play more similarly than clay and there are 2 hardcourt events. The surface choices for majors are fairly arbitrary and if it was 1-1-1 he’d be the standout. Just saying it’s at least worth considering that the other two benefit heavily from the surface choices.
In my eyes, it's always going to be Federer... Such a perfectionist, he represents everything great about tennis for me
If Rafa wins the French would it still not matter?
What a douche he is. Shoutout to Aus for sticking to their guns!
My god I don’t even like tennis and I have chills from that comeback. Dude almost missed the whole tournament
What a fucking goat here’s to number 21 well done champ!
Rafa has played in some of the most tense, insane matches in tennis history. More so than anyone else I would say
What a comeback, incredible.
That dude is something else. For someone who doesn’t follow tennis super close, how uncommon is it for someone to be winning majors at 35? Pretty rare right?
Very, very uncommon. Only two guys have done it older. One before pro tennis really began, the other is named Roger Federer
Pretty good company haha. Will be interesting to see how many more he can rack up. Dude is a freak.
One of the best finals I’ve seen
The way the crowd was, it reminded me so much of Phil mickelson at the US open
Foot surgery, not a lot of matches leading in, covid a week out, heatstroke in the QF, down 2 sets and 3 breakpoints in the third against a player 10 years younger than him. Has to be the best comeback win ever.
No greater feeling than the feeling watching sports greatness brings.
Rafa was my favourite growing up & i’m so happy to see him break the record. Truly truly deserved.
Nadal first won GS when I started going to primary school. Now I'm a med school graduate and he is still winning GS. Unbelievable
Amazing amazing mental fortitude. Unbelievable
Been a fan since 2010 and I’m glad he’s come this far !! VAMOS!! Congratulations to the 🐐!!
I sincerely wish I had someone in real life to scream with about this. Congratulations Rafa! He's had such a fabulous career and is one of the hardest working and best tennis plays I have ever seen. So nice to see him coming through and getting his record breaking 21st Grand Slam Title! Yay!
Damn Fed’s message to Rafa in IG. What a bro
I love their mutual respect and friendship. Press wanted them enemies but they never allowed that. I respect these two guys
I am not a tennis guy by any means but I desperately wish I could go back in time 15 years and get into tennis so I could truly appreciate Rafa, Federer and Djokovic
With this win Nadal goes clear of Federer and Djokovic on grand slam titles and becomes only the fourth man to win all grand slams at least twice.
The only clear conclusion, imo, is that Nadal is the God of Clay, and no will or can come close.
This is possibly the only unanimous opinion in all of sports tbh.
I still put Nadal and Federer on equal footing. Nadal has the head to head victories, but won 13 of his 21 majors on one surface, which he dominated obviously. Federer won the Australian Open 6 times, the US Open 5 times, Wimbledon 8 times (including 5 in a row), and then the French open only once as that was clearly Nadal's dominate surface.
But there's not much bad you can say about either guy, they are both tennis legends obviously. It's so close, you could nitpick and make the argument for either one. I do wish Federer won 1 or 2 more.
On a side note...the last American man to win a Major was Andy Roddick in 2003! Almost 20 damn years ago. I wonder what happened with American male tennis players?
You could just as easily spin the surface debate the other way and say Nadal had to play 3 of 4 majors on a surface that gave him a disadvantage and still ended his career with more majors and a double grand slam.
I mean, that's a disingenuous argument. Federer won 11 of his 20 on the same surface as well. The others are lucky the 1988 Aus Open vote was to move it to hard court and not clay.
And his 11 came from 2 chances per year instead of 1
People pick first and rationalize later.
Nadal beat Federer on his favorite surface to win a slam.
Fed could not.
with double career slam, it's the end of the story.
All that topspin and relentless effort just grinds away at his opponents. Nightmare to play for anyone but Djoker.
Nadal takes the lead with an incredible 21 Grand Slams. Novak in shambles…
22 after the French
Well he won't be against Djokovic, unless France change their covid rules. You have to be fully vaxxed to enter public arenas, including Roland Garros
Imagine being Novaxx, watching someone start to take all the records you thought would be yours, while you save your body from an imaginary problem...
Didn’t see Novax Djokovich there. Did something happen?
To all the asterisk * Novax Djocovid stans here: let's add an asterisk to his 2016 Roland Garros win then, since Nadal got injured.
And all the 8 times Rafa missed a slam, 5 of which he was a prior finalist in
That was an absolutely wild match. Glad I stayed up for it!
What an epic match, one of the all time great finals.
Nadal also becomes the second man in the open era to win each major at least twice, after Djokovic did it last year.
To come back from two sets down at his age is incredible. Especially after in the quarter final he looked down and out at 2 sets each, suffering heat stroke, but he found a way back, despite this being just his second tournament after a really long injury lay off. He didn't even know whether he would be able to play in the tournament.
What a champion.
Nadal and federer will always be for me the two most defining players of this sport. Love this come back, reminds of the federer comeback win at wimbledon app. ten years back!
Djokovic shot himself in the foot because he wouldn't take one in his arm.
Not to take away from Nadal in any way though. Excellent effort on his part, and well deserved.
He's simply the best. Today he did an incredible comeback (unprecedented for Rafa in a Grand Slam finale!), even more amazing considering his age and injury history.
Plus, Rafa is an outstanding human being.
Congrats to Rafa for an amazing victory and to Daniil too who played great too.
Nico’s curse only beaten by Rafa. Legendary stuff
Incredible! Crazy to think that on 2 years, bunch of legends will retire: fed, Lebron, Brady, nadal, Rodgers, …
Maybe Messi, Ronaldo a few later? What a great era for sports.
That was wild. Vamos Rafa!
I love how all the analysts said things like, “Nadal has to win the first set and come out strong. The longer the match goes the more it goes against him.”
Yeah, shut up retired tennis players. None of you are Rafa Nadal. No one is Nadal.
I remember one of the Australian commentators saying, years ago, “if I have to choose one man to play a tennis match for my life, I choose *this* man.”
As a 23YO
I have seen the era of:
3 of the greatest tennis players of all time
ETC.. Truly incredible the priviledge I’ve had to watch these generational players play growing up.
Nadal is my all time favorite tennis player . Federer might be better but Nadal is better than Federer head to head . I personally can't say either is better than the other
All the Novax fans trying to cope by saying asterisk is making my day.
I hope Djokovic was watching. Time to get with the program or step away from the game. I hope he gets vaccinated and goes on a run, but I won’t hold my breath. Congratulations to Nadal for a great tournament. Can’t pull against the dude, he battles.
And even if there wasn’t the whole Novax thing, it is always more uplifting to see Nadal win than Djokovic. If Joker were in the same match, and won the same way, he would have roared like some wounded bear that had ripped his prey to pieces.
Nadal? A humble, grateful, warm, incredulous smile. Nothing but respect for himself and his opponent. That is a true champion.
This is true. I find it so hard to root for Djokovic when he’s acting like that. Just really psycho and off-putting.
What a crazy grand slam this has been. Novak falsifying vaccination status and getting deported from his favorite Open, Nadal reaching Grand Slam #21 first after a grueling 5 setter at age 35 right after coming back from an injury, and Kyrgious becoming a grand slam champ have made this one one of my favorite grand slams.