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“It was a fabulous story” Gael Monfils left in awe of Rafael Nadal’s win at the 2022 Australian Open

Gael Monfils pays tribute to his friend Rafael Nadal after the latter won the 2022 Australian Open and became the first man to win 21 Grand Slam titles.

Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils

World No. 5 Rafael Nadal claimed the historic 21st Grand Slam title when he defeated World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the 2022 Australian Open. Nadal had lost the first two sets and had to rally back in one of the finest comebacks to win the finals after a gruelling 5 hour and 24-minute battle on the Rod Laver Arena with the clock past the 1 AM mark in Australia.

The win made Nadal the first man to win 21 majors in the Open Era and saw him take the lead in the race for the most number of Grand Slam titles ahead of his close rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. With many wishes pouring in for the Spaniard who is now the most successful Grand Slam champion and 4th in the all-time list for his 90 titles won, French veteran Gael Monfils also came forward to appreciate Nadal.

“It’s beautiful, I found it beautiful. The older we get, the stronger the emotions. I’m super happy for him, he’s a friend, I grew up with him. I’m appreciative. He made me happy. Truly. This victory is heartbreaking! I thought it was a fabulous story,” said Monfils during his pre-match interview at the ongoing Open Sud de France in Montpellier where he is a 3-time champion.

Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils met 16 times on the court

Gael Monfils and Rafael Nadal

Nadal and Monfils are both 35-year olds but Nadal is senior to the Frenchman who turned Pro in 2004 while Nadal turned in 2001. In their long careers so far with both players having various distinctions to their name, they have shared a good rivalry as well.

They met for the first time in the first round of the 2005 Monte Carlo Masters where Nadal won in straight-sets. The Spaniard went on to win both of their next two meetings before Monfils won his first match in the quarter-finals of the 2009 Qatar Open in Doha. It remained the only win for Monfils for the next 5 matches before he won again in the semi-finals of the 2012 Qatar Open, his last win against Nadal.

Post the semi-final meeting in Doha, the two have met 7 times on the court with Nadal claiming wins in all of them to lead the head-to-head tie 14-2. Despite this, there is no love lost between the two veterans who have taken tennis ahead in their respective nations and are surely well respected on the Tour as well.

Also Read: “Rafael Nadal would never have won if Novak Djokovic played” Former US Open champion discredits Rafa’s Australian Open win