MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal got to 21 first.
The 35-year-old Spaniard has broken the men’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles but he had to do it the hard way by coming back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in an Australian Open final that lasted 5 hours and 24 minutes. He was broken when serving for the championship at 5-4 in the fifth set but made no mistake the next time.
It was the second longest Australian Open final after Novak Djokovic beat Nadal in five sets in 5 hours and 53 minutes in 2012.
Nadal now has one more than Roger Federer and Djokovic, his long-time rivals in the so-called Big Three.
With the 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win that started Sunday night and was delayed for a while in the second set when a protester jumped onto the court, Nadal also becomes just the fourth man in history to win all four of the sport’s major titles at least twice.