Rafael Nadal discusses congratulatory message from Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal became the first male player to win 21 singles Grand Slams titles, eclipsing both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal in a file photo. (Twitter: @AustralianOpen)

Rafael Nadal said it ‘meant a lot’ to him that Roger Federer, arguably his greatest rival, congratulated him on winning a 21st Grand Slam.

Nadal became the first male player to win 21 singles Grand Slams titles with his Australian Open 2022 win, eclipsing both Federer and Novak Djokovic.

“It means a lot to me. We have an amazing relationship, we did amazing things together. For me it’s a great honour to be part of his era.

“Together we have enjoyed and lived amazing moments of the history of our sport. To receive a message like this from him means a lot to me.

“I wish him well, he knows, and I really hope that we will be able to play again in important stages.”

The win seemed unlikely at one point, however. Nadal was down two sets to nothing after the first two sets, with Daniil Medvedev starting the match very well.

But once Nadal broke late in the third set and went on to win it, the momentum turned. Helped by a partisan crowd that got to the Russian, Nadal won the next three sets in a comeback for the ages.

It was a remarkable turnaround in more ways than one; the Spaniard’s recent injury struggles left many wondering what his future in the sport could be.

It is no secret that he was struggling for full fitness before the Grand Slam. To make things worse, he had also just recently recovered from a bout of COVID-19.

Yet while Nadal’s body is seemingly fragile, his spirit and winning know-how remain as strong as ever even now.

Rafael Nadal coy on future schedule

Of course, there are still question marks over Nadal’s schedule in the upcoming months. He missed the latter parts of the 2021 season but is still good enough to win Slams.

But will he choose to conserve his body ahead of the French Open, which begins in May? Or will he opt instead to throw himself into the grind and maybe test his limits?

As of now, the Spaniard is unsure of what steps he will take next. While his schedule is planned out, he will take a call after charting his own recovery.

“I have my schedule planned, but I’m enjoying the moment,” he said when quizzed on his future schedule.

“I need to see how my body recovers from an amazing month and I’m going to make my decision.”

Sportslumo Desk

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