Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022

John McEnroe labels Rafael Nadal Australian Open win the ‘greatest comeback’ in 38 years

John McEnroe was awestruck by Rafael Nadal in his Australian Open final comeback and went as far as to claim it was “one of the greatest comeback” victories he has seen since 1984.

Despite being just a few games away from defeat in the Australian Open final, Nadal battled back against US Open winner Daniil Medvedev to win a record-shattering 21st Grand Slam.

Medvedev stormed into a two set lead and was a point away from breaking Nadal’s serve. However, the Spanish great miraculously fought back to not only level the scores, but go all the way and win three sets to two.

Such a remarkable comeback came after Nadal nursed a foot injury for the past five months and Covid-19 hampered his ‘Happy Slam’ preparations.

Before the first Slam of the season even got underway, 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic was engulfed in controversy when his medical exemption and visa were cancelled twice and he was deported just one day before the Australian Open.

Seven-time Major winner John McEnroe feels that Nadal’s phenomenal comeback is the greatest comeback in the last 38 years, since his loss against Ivan Lendl at the 1984 French Open.

Speaking with Eurosport, McEnroe said “I’m trying to think of greater comebacks. I remember when I was a ball boy, I believe way back in 1975, Manuel Orantes [in the US Open semi-finals].

“It certainly was one of the greatest comebacks, given the set of circumstances, that I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I was part of one where I was up two sets to love and lost that.

“It’s (Nadal’s win) more monumental than [Stefanos] Tsitsipas being up two sets to love [in last year’s French Open], even though that was a huge moment for Novak to be able to come back and win the French Open for the second time.

“Considering everything that had gone on as far as Rafael Nadal, not playing for almost six months, having the surgery, then getting Covid and then everything that was going on with Novak because they were slated to play in the semi-finals.

“To see him do that the way he did, I would like to say that was the greatest comeback – at least since the guy who beat me in the [1984] French Open (McEnroe Vs. Lendl, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5).”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.