AUSTRALIA OPEN: Rafael Nadal Pays Tribute To Novak Djokovic And Roger Federer After Historic 21st Major

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 03: Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) and Novak Djokovic of Serbia pose before their final round Gentlemen's match on Day Thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal pays tribute to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic after historic 21st major
Nadal rewrote the history books on Sunday after defeating Daniil Medvedev in a marathon Australian Open final; Federer hailed Nadal an “inspiration” and Djokovic called him “amazing” after his 21st Grand Slam title

Rafael Nadal has paid tribute to long-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic after claiming an historic 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open but has not decided when he will next be back in action

Nadal fought back from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in an epic final in Melbourne on Sunday. It was his first Australian Open title since 2009 and came just months after the Spaniard feared retirement due to injury.

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The 35-year-old’s victory saw him become the first male tennis player to reach 21 major titles, passing the tally of 20 managed by both Federer and Djokovic, and Nadal recognised the impact the trio have made in the sport.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a game and in some way we achieved more than what we ever dreamed when we were kids,” Nadal said. “I mean, at the end, it doesn’t matter that much if one is 21, one is 20, or the other finished 23 and the other with 21.

“I think we did very important things for our sport and we achieved our dreams and we enjoy it. I feel lucky to be part of this era that has been very special for our sport.”
What next for Nadal?

Nadal will savour his historic and unexpected triumph before turning his thoughts to what comes next, with the two-time Australian Open winner in no rush to return to competitive action.

His next event is scheduled to be the ATP tournament in Acapulco at the end of February prior to the big Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami, although Nadal will take time to recover before deciding when he returns to tour action.

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“The satisfaction is impossible to describe, for me, it’s just amazing to have this trophy with me,” Nadal added. “I tried very hard during my career here in Australia, finally, it was probably the most unexpected year for me to achieve, one more time this beautiful trophy so, I’m super happy.

“My schedule? I don’t know, I have my schedule planned, but I just now enjoying the moment. I need to be back, I need to see how my body recovers from an amazing month and I’m going to make my decision.”

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