Tennis greats Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic took to social media Sunday to congratulate Rafael Nadal after he topped Daniil Medvedev in an epic
Tennis greats Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic took to social media Sunday to congratulate Rafael Nadal after he topped Daniil Medvedev in an epic 5.5-hour long match in the Australian Open final to win his 21st Grand Slam title, breaking the all-time record.
The trio had shared the record with 20 apiece until Nadal’s thrilling victory, marking his second Australian Open title and his first since 2009.
RAFAEL NADAL WINS 21ST MAJOR TITLE IN AUSTRALIAN OPEN THRILLER OVER DANIIL MEDVEDEV
“To my friend and great rival,” Federer wrote on his Instagram Stories, “Heartfelt congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles titles. A few months ago we were joking about both being on crutches. Amazing. Never underestimate a great champion.”
“Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit are an inspiration to me and countless others around the world,” he continued. “I am proud to share this era with you and honored to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me the past 18 years. I am sure you have more achievements ahead but for now enjoy this one.”
Djokovic, who had travel to Australia with the same goal before being deported over his vaccination status earlier this month, also shared his praise for Nadal on Instagram.
“There has been some outstanding tennis played at this year’s @australianopen and the finals were exceptional,” he said in a post, also celebrating the women’s final participants. “Congratulations to @ashbarty for an amazing performance in front of her home crowd and to @danimalcollins for an incredible tournament. Congratulations to @rafaelnadal for 21st GS.”
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
He continued: “Amazing achievement. Always impressive fighting spirit that prevailed another time. Enhorabuena @medwed33 gave it his all out there and played with the passion and determination we have come to expect from him.”
Djokovic was the favorite heading into the Australian Open but a lengthy back-and-forth between his team and the Australian government over a medical exemption gave way to his departure and Nadal’s chance to secure the record.
His chance to again even the record at the French Open in May is still at risk under the government’s current COVID-19 policy. For Federer, his record may likely stay at 20.
“Even if I know that the end is near, I want to try and play some more big matches. That will not be easy, but I want to try,” Federer said in an interview published in the Tribune de Genève newspaper in November.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“Let’s be clear: My life is not going to fall apart if I don’t play another Grand Slam final. But that would be the ultimate dream – to get back there,” he said. “I want to see one last time what I’m capable of as a professional tennis player.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.