Flags to Nadal and Medvedev at Australian Open

18 Jan 2022 | 05:48 | Tennis

The failure of defending champion Novak Djokovic to compete at the Australian Open has opened up opportunities for other players, including Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev.

The title at the Australian Open 2022 will help Rafael Nadal get ahead in the Grand Slam race, while Daniil Medvedev will overtake Novak Djokovic as world number one if he wins.

Nadal before the opportunity to go ahead in the Grand Slam race. Photo: ATP.

Nadal before the opportunity to go ahead in the Grand Slam race. Photo: ATP.

History awaits Nadal

Rafael Nadal has started the new season with a title at the Melbourne Open, right at the Rod Laver Arena, where the top matches of the Australian Open are held.

Another title at Melbourne Park would give him his 21st Grand Slam, to overtake Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the men’s singles with the most major titles ever. Nadal also became a player to win at least two titles in all four Grand Slam tournaments, something no male player has done in the Open Era (since 1986).

At the Australian Open 2022, Nadal is the only player ever to win the men’s singles title. This is a very rare thing to see in Grand Slams. When he won the 2009 Australian Open as the number one seed, Nadal was at his peak, holding three of the four major titles.

However, since his glory 12 years ago, he has appeared in 4 finals and lost all. Two of them are classic matches, lasting 5 sets. Injuries also prevented him from completing the tournament in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2018. In 2016, he collapsed in the first round.

The last time Nadal reached the final of the Austraian Open was in 2019, but lost to Djokovic. Photo: Reuters.

The last time Nadal reached the final of the Austraian Open was in 2019, but lost to Djokovic. Photo: Reuters.

Nadal started the Australian Open 2022 smoothly when he won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 against Marcos Giron, ranked 66th in the world. He did not lose any break and finished the match after 1 hour 49 minutes.

Experts predict that Nadal will not be under the pressure of breaking the record but affecting himself. He fought to the last at the 2008 Wimbledon final to become the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win two consecutive Grand Slams on clay and grass.

He then won the 2010 US Open, becoming the first male tennis player to win three Grand Slams in a single season on different courts. He did not lose a set at Roland Garros 2017, during his legendary “La Decima” campaign.

Nadal always knows how to overcome historical milestones. “Of course I care about records. I’m a big fan of sports history. I never hide anything and want to end my career as a player with many Grand Slams. best,” he said after winning Roland Garros 2020.

When Djokovic could not participate, Nadal’s bracket became somewhat lighter. His biggest opponent is probably himself, besides Alexander Zverev, the player who has had a sublime second half of the 2021 season.

Medvedev’s chance

Djokovic’s troubles are also opportunities for Medvedev. At this tournament last year, the Russian tennis player lost to Djokovic himself in the final. But in the past 12 months, he, along with Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, have been the only ones to stop Djokovic from winning a Grand Slam.

Medvedev thwarted Djokovic’s attempt to become the third male player in history to win all four Grand Slams in one year, by beating him in the US Open final last September. Now, he arrives at the Australian Open as the highest seed of all the players in attendance.

The 25-year-old tennis player will take over Djokovic’s world number one title if he wins the Australian Open. In an interview on January 15, Medvedev said: “I have a lot of time to prepare for the tournament. I am ready physically, mentally. This is very important because I need to feel that I can play well. and beat any tennis player.”

Medvedev before the opportunity to grow up to be number one in the world. Photo: Reuters.

Medvedev before the opportunity to grow up to be number one in the world. Photo: Reuters.

Medvedev, the son of an electrical engineer, right-handed and 1.98 meters tall, found his inspiration to play tennis at the age of nine and gradually became a leading candidate for each tournament he attended.

Medvedev’s inspiration came from Marat Safin beating Lleyton Hewitt to win the 2005 Australian Open. No Russian player has won the Australian Open men’s singles since then, but Medvedev will start this year’s tournament with as the best candidate.

Medvedev’s remarkable win over Djokovic in New York last September reinforced his belief in his desire for a better record at Melbourne Park.

“Overall, the US Open title has given me a lot of confidence, both in my life and in my tennis career. I feel more confident than last year in my ability to read the game. “, Medvedev confidently headed for the Australian Open title.

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