Rafael Nadal on his victory at the Australian Open: “The biggest comeback of my career”

“To begin with, does this victory, when you were ahead by 6-2, 7-6, 3-2 and 0-40 in your service, surpass everything in terms of the comeback?
If we balance all the elements, the scenario, the moment, the meaning, then yes, without a doubt, this is the biggest comeback of my career.

How do you explain the fact that you rotated the game?
I do not know. The situation was critical, but the sport is unpredictable, right? It would have been normal for me to lose in three sets in a row, but at the same time, I had a great chance in the second set, right? During the game, I kept telling myself that I had often had great opportunities here in Melbourne, that I had sometimes been unhappy but that I was eager to believe in it to the end, to give myself a chance.

And it worked …
I kept fighting and believing it. Sure, I was lucky enough to get out of it then, but tonight (Sunday), it was for me. This afternoon will be unforgettable.

“I don’t care if I’m the best or one of the best in history”

You are the only man with 21 Grand Slam titles. The numbers say you’re the best player of all time. How do you feel about it?
Honestly, I haven’t changed my mind about this. For me, it’s great to win another Grand Slam title at this point in my career. And of course, 21 is a special number. I’ll never say I deserve it, because a lot of people deserve it, then. I really struggled to try to get back on track. There were some really hard moments, tense conversations, of the kind you can have when you’re not sure you have a chance to get back on track. But I don’t care much if I’m the best or one of the best in history. For me, it’s all about enjoying nights like this. Having won my second Australian Open means more than anything right now.

Have you just achieved the greatest feat of your career?
In any case the most unexpected (smile), certainly. And the most amazing thing for everyone, I think. It was a very emotional moment, and I’m physically devastated, I don’t remember many moments of that match. I just know the audience has been great with me.

Daniil Medvedev said that he had problems, precisely, with the attitude of the public towards him …
Daniil is a great champion, he was kind in the defeat and I thank him for that because it must be a very difficult night for him. I know how hard it is to be in that position after having the chances. I don’t know if the audience affected it. Of course, it’s better to have people with you, and tonight (Sunday) it was crazy, for me. But I really think Daniil has a bright future ahead of him. And he will feel the love of the public, because he deserves it.

“I wasn’t ready for this kind of battle”

How was your foot during this final?
No foot pain during this match. I was able to run without brakes. I feel lucky to have been able to play tennis freely. I know things can turn around quickly. This injury can’t be completely healed and it’s been a month since I’ve been able to play normally and it’s something I didn’t expect. We’ll see what happens next. But frankly, he wasn’t ready for that kind of battle. I hadn’t trained enough to be prepared for that. But tonight (Sunday), it was really special. I gave everything I had in me. I’m super tired, in every sense of the word. I can’t even celebrate, but I loved the fight, I loved the emotions. I couldn’t be happier.

In a month, your confidence in your physical reserves must have picked up a fantastic boost, right?
Everything that happened is fantastic and it is clear that I have more confidence in my chances of being able to continue enjoying this wonderful sport. This is what makes me happier, professionally. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.

“We tried things and for a long time nothing worked. Unsuccessful. At my age, of course, there are doubts.

What was the hardest part of the long weeks before this immaculate January?
When your ankle is torn or your wrist is broken, there is a specific rehabilitation schedule. It is easier to accept. I have known this kind of process during my career. You know you’ve been there for four months and you have a plan to follow. Each week, watch the progress. But that was completely different. We tried things and for a long time nothing worked. Unsuccessful. At my age, of course, there are doubts. Knowing that you have a wound that you can’t heal mentally is harder. Sometimes it breaks your heart. I was lucky to have a great team around me, which supported me all the time. They were friends, more than a team. Without them, without my family, I would not be here, in front of you.

You looked as happy as if it were your first Grand Slam title. Is that the case?
It was more emotional than my first Grand Slam title, no doubt. I think that towards the end of your career you can appreciate these moments more because you know that the opportunities are scarce. At nineteen (the age of his first title, at Roland-Garros in 2005), yes, it is special, but you know that if you keep playing well you will have other opportunities. From now on, you never know what to expect. I am proud and personal satisfaction is higher than a few seasons ago.

Are you thinking about what will be next, on clay?
I’m more in the present moment, without projecting myself too much. I don’t know what may or may not happen on earth. There will usually be other steps ahead. There I want to enjoy, share with my family this unforgettable moment. Then I will think about what will happen next.

If you look back on all that has just happened, what do you attribute to your incredible ability to stand up again after a turn of fate?
Love of play, passion, positive attitude and hardworking mentality. And the right people to help me, every day. »

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