Rafa Nadal is the history of world sport. The Spaniard won his 21st Grand Slam this Sunday after defeating Daniil Medvedev in an epic Australian Open final, thus becoming the first tennis player in history to reach this figure. Thus, he undoes the triple tie at 20 with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and becomes the best tennis player of all time.
It all started in his favorite place, Roland Garros , on June 5, 2005 when he was just 19 years old. That day a legend began to be forged. That was the first of 13 titles he has achieved on the Parisian clay. Nadal showed that he was the king of clay and conquered another three Roland Garros in 2006, 2007 and 2008, beating Roger Federer in the final every time.
After his fourth trophy in Paris, almost without time to assimilate it, came the fifth Grand Slam at Wimbledon 2008. The man from Manacor was crowned in London for the first time in his career and starred in what is considered by many to be the best match in history, with Roger Federer again as a victim. Nadal won in five sets after almost five hours of play. A few months later, already in 2009, the two tennis players would meet again in the final of the Australian Open .
Rafa prevailed again in another legendary match and thus conquered his first and only Australian Open until this year he defeated Medvedev in the final. A year later, in 2010, he lived one of his best seasons: he returned to the top of Roland Garros after beating Soderling, his executioner the previous year, in the final, then he beat Berdych in the Wimbledon final and finally finished off with his first US Open after beating Del Potro in the battle for the title.
The best in history
Nadal continued his idyll at Roland Garros winning another four titles in a row (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) defeating Federer, Ferrer and Djokovic on two occasions. In addition, in 2013 he would win his second US Open , defeating the Serbian in the final. With this title, the Balearic tennis player equaled the 14 Grand Slams of Pete Sampras, who held the record for majors until Federer surpassed him.
The progression of the best Spanish tennis player of all time did not stop there. Despite the fact that in 2015 and 2016 he could not win any Grand Slam, Nadal got up and in 2017 he returned to the top at Roland Garros beating Wawrinka. Months later he would achieve his third US Open beating Kevin Anderson. From there he returned his domain in Paris. In 2018, 2019 and 2020 he would win three more titles on clay to set the figure at 13, beating Dominic Thiem the first two years and Djokovic in the last.
However, before beating the Serbian in Paris once again, he managed his fourth and so far last US Open by beating Medvedev in the final in another historic match. That Roland Garros achieved in 2020 had been his last big one so far. Injuries made it doubtful whether he would lift a new trophy, the idea of retirement crossed his mind, but once again, Gladiator Nadal has risen to fight again and win his twenty-first Grand Slam.
This January 30, Nadal has written a new page in the tennis history books after beating Medvedev in the Australian Open final. The Russian arrived as the great favorite in this tournament, but Rafa has won the day. This time he could not prevent a big three tennis player from conquering his big number 21 as he did with Djokovic at the US Open last year. The battle to be the best in history is not over yet, Djokovic and Federer still have a lot to say, but for now the Spaniard has taken the lead.