The first major of the 2022 tennis season has now been decided, and the 2022 Australian Open was memorable indeed. The major news before the tournament started was the fact that world number one and nine-time Australian Open Novak Djokovic of Serbia decided not to follow the Australian government’s guidelines regarding vaccination, and decided not to participate.
Djokovic was expected to break the record for the most number of men’s grand slam championships of all-time. The record was broken, but just not by Djokovic. In an historic men’s final, it was Rafael Nadal (who entered the 2022 Australian Open with 20 grand slam singles titles and tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer for the most ever), who came through with a remarkable 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win over world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia, the 2021 U.S. Open champion.
Nadal, the world number six who won the 2009 Australian Open over Federer, won despite only having three aces, compared to 23 by his Russian opponent. After coming to the net regularly in the early stages of the match, Nadal made some significant adjustments in the last three sets, as he stayed at the baseline more.
It should also be noted that Nadal won the match even though Medvedev won 189 points, compared to 182 points for Nadal. The match was a prime example that it is not how many points you win in a tennis match that it is important, but when you win them.
This was the second time that Nadal beat Medvedev in a grand slam singles final. The first time came at the 2019 United States Open, a tournament Nadal won, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.
On the women’s side, Ashleigh Barty became the first Australian woman to win a grand slam singles title since 1978. She defeated American Danielle Collins in the final, 6-3, 7-6. In 1978, the champion was unseeded Chris O’Neill, who beat American Betsy Nagelsen, by the exact same score as Barty on Sunday, 6-3, 7-6.