Andy Murray has decided to skip the entire clay court season, including the French Open, as he feels the surface aggravated "issues" in the past.

Former world number one Murray has endured a torrid time with injuries in the past few years, but he has featured more regularly since the second half of last season.

While he only made it as far as the second round at last month's Australian Open, his preparation for the year's opening grand slam saw him reach a first final on the ATP Tour since October 2019.

He lost to Aslan Karatsev in the decider of the Sydney Classic, going down 6-3 6-3, but the Scot's run to the final provided evidence he still has plenty to offer.

Murray will not be playing in the next grand slam, though.

The eyes of the tennis world will be on Roland Garros in late May and early June, but Murray is opting to miss that and every other event on clay for fear of worsening his condition, with Wimbledon scheduled to begin on June 27.

"Right now, I am not planning on playing through the clay," the three-time grand slam winner said.

"The past couple of years, the clay has made issues worse; last year I had some issues at the beginning of the year, the clay didn't help, so I've spoken to my team about that and this year while I feel good and healthy, I don't want to take that risk.

"It's not that I wouldn't potentially play on clay in the future. Last year I almost missed Wimbledon, was close to not playing the grass season. I'm not planning on playing the clay. I will still try to compete a bit during that period, I won't do nothing, that's my plan just now.

"I had a busy end of last year and the next couple of months I won't take any risks and hopefully get a good build up to the grass season."

Murray parted ways with long-term coach Jamie Delgado in December and then decided against making Jan de Witt a permanent member of his team following a trial period leading up to and through the Australian Open.

The 34-year-old is now once again working with Dani Vallverdu, Stan Wawrinka's coach, having teamed up with him between 2010 and 2014.

But Murray accepts the situation is far from ideal, with Vallverdu only available while Wawrinka continues his rehabilitation from a foot injury that has kept him out since March last year.

"It's not been easy to find someone," Murray added.

"Obviously, Stan Wawrinka has been rehabbing for quite a long time and is hopefully coming back to the tour, but he agreed for Dani to come and work with me for a few weeks over the next month or so, which is great for me in the short term, but still trying to find a longer-term solution.

"It's not that straightforward, I'm not as in demand as a few years ago. Ultimately, I want it to be the right person. I'm aware there's no perfect setup, but medium, longer term I want some stability and will try and get that in the next few weeks."

Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner have been replaced by Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the upcoming Rotterdam Open.

World number two Medvedev lost a thrilling five-set Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal on Sunday and does not feel ready to compete in the Netherlands.

The Russian explained his decision in a statement on Thursday, while Sinner has had to pull out due to COVID-19.

"Unfortunately I will not play in Rotterdam this year," Medvedev said. 

"I just got back from Australia and am not ready to compete. Rotterdam is one of the favourite stops. I look forward to coming back in the future."

Roberto Bautista Agut and Borna Coric had already pulled out of the competition. Tournament director Richard Krajicek has confirmed that Murray and Tsonga, who won the event in 2009 and 2017 respectively, will now take part as wild cards.

Andrey Rublev is the reigning champion in Rotterdam after beating Marton Fucsovics in last year's final.

Roger Federer still has the drive to return to the ATP Tour but is yet to run and is still months away in his recovery from a third knee operation.

The 40-year-old 20-time grand slam winner missed last month's Australian Open after a knee operation in August.

Federer has not played since a quarter-final loss to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon last year and previously said he would be "incredibly surprised" if he was fit to play at the event in 2022.

"It's a very important next few months ahead of me," Federer said at a sponsor's event on Wednesday. "I'll know a whole lot more in April what my body is going to be like.

"Up until now I was not able to run yet and do the heavy workload. I hope that starts in the next couple of weeks and then we'll see how my body reacts.

"For now, the drive is there. I'm really motivated to do my work and what I'm allowed to do. I'd love to do way more, but the doctors are holding me back a bit."

The eight-time Wimbledon champion elaborated on his recovery, revealing he hopes to put weight on his knee again in the coming weeks.

"I can still not run. But I'm working daily in the gym," Federer said. "I really hope that I can put weight on my knee again in two to three weeks. Then we'll see how the body reacts so we can hit the ball again in April or May."

He added: "Of course I wish that everything could go quicker. But the doctors don't want me to overdo everything."

Rafael Nadal is motivated to win more grand slams than rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic come the end of the trio's careers, but he believes he will need more than 21 to achieve that.

Spaniard Nadal sealed a record 21st grand slam title on Sunday at the Australian Open, beating Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 in a marathon five hours and 24 minutes.

It was only the second Australian Open title of Nadal's decorated career and put him out ahead of Djokovic and Federer (both 20) as the man to have won the most grand slams of all time.

Nadal worried his career was over just a matter of weeks ago as he struggled to recover from the foot injury that has affected a large part of his career.

He abandoned a stop-start 2021 season in August and missed Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open, leaving many to wonder if Nadal would ever be a force at the top level again.

Now, the 35-year-old is the man to beat once more, although he suspects he will need to add more major titles to his name to ensure he is ahead of his two great rivals when their careers are over.

"A short time ago I would have accepted just being able to just play tennis and not to win any more grand slams, but now I have 21," he told a media conference. 

"My way of seeing it doesn't change. I want to be the one with more grand slams at the end of the careers of the three of us, because nowadays it is the three of us. Yes, I would like that, but I am not obsessed by it and it does not frustrate me that I might not be the one. 

"Honestly, I don't think that 21 will be enough to end up being who has more grand slams, but the future will tell what will happen. Again, I feel fortunate in this life.

"All three of us have won more than we could have dreamed when we were kids. I understand the debate of who is the best, and it feeds the fans, but I don't think about it like that. As always, I try to do it my way and not focus on others.

"I follow my way and if that allows me to have options to fight in order to have more moments like the ones I've just had, it will be welcome. I will fight for it and I hope to keep having chances if my physical condition allows me."

Nadal's focus now turns to the Indian Wells Masters, which starts on March 10, with it appearing unlikely he will play in Acapulco a fortnight earlier. 

"My first priority is to try to analyse how I am after the Australian Open," he added. "I need a few days and then I will analyse things with calm and clarity. 

"For Indian Wells, I would say I have the maximum determination to go if there isn't any setbacks. For Acapulco, I would like to be there but I have to make a smart choice. The perspective has changed and I do have to take decisions according to what my body allows me."

Rafael Nadal remains adamant he is not playing the numbers game as he navigates the twilight years of his career, but a record 21st grand slam title still felt "very special" to the Spaniard.

As he put it himself, what was perhaps the most unexpected major of his career was also one of the most emotional.

"That means everything for me," said Nadal, after the 35-year-old wrestled with Daniil Medvedev for five hours and 24 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, roaring back from two sets adrift to earn a 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 epic victory.

Nadal worried his career was over just a matter of weeks ago, he said, as he struggled to recover from the foot injury that has affected a large part of his career.

He abandoned a stop-start 2021 season in August, and missed Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open, leaving many to wonder if Nadal would ever be a force at the top level again.

At the age of 35, he is suddenly the man to beat again, having moved ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the list of the most successful men's singles players in grand slam history.

They both have 20, and Nadal now has 21.

Federer, who at the age of 40 is battling to return from knee trouble, hailed Nadal as "a great champion" and "an inspiration", while Djokovic saluted an "amazing achievement".

If their social media posts came through gritted teeth, both would surely appreciate the resilience of their great Spanish rival, not just in this match but across his career. In turn, Nadal says he would have no qualms finishing behind either when their final career totals are totted up.

"I don't want to change my point of view, honestly," said Nadal, who began his post-final news conference at 02:42 on Monday morning in Melbourne.

"For me it's amazing to achieve another grand slam at this moment of my career. It just means a lot to me. Of course, I know it's a special number, 21. I know what it means. It's a big significance this title."

Nadal says what matters most is the enjoyment of the big moments, rather than whether he finishes first, second or third in the private rivalry he, Federer and Djokovic have been ducking out for years.

"Today is an unforgettable day," he said. "For the last six months, I really fought a lot to try to be back on court. There have been very, very tough moments and conversations, because you don't know if I'm going to have the chance to be back on the tour.

"I feel honoured. I feel lucky to achieve one more very special thing in my tennis career. I don't care much if I am the one or not the one or the best of history, not the best of the history.

"Honestly, today I don't care much. For me, it's about enjoying nights like today. That means everything for me."

This was Nadal's second Australian Open title, a full 13 years since he beat Federer in another five-set duel.

"It is the most unexpected, without a doubt," Nadal said. "And the most surprising I think for everyone. It has been a very emotional night. Even now I am destroyed, honestly, physically."

He said he was too tried to celebrate, his body having taken a thrashing. In December, Nadal tested positive for COVID-19, adding a further complication before heading to Melbourne.

A warm-up event title put Nadal in a positive mindset heading into the Australian Open, but how the foot would hold up remained to be seen.

He said the injury is "difficult to fix, impossible really", but for now it is manageable. At one point during his recovery he said there had been "zero success" in getting to grips with the problem, saying it was "heartbreaking" at times.

"I just want to enjoy this moment," he said, back on top of the world, "and, of course, try to keep going."

Rafael Nadal was on the brink of another Australian Open final defeat before a remarkable turnaround against Daniil Medvedev.

Trailing by two sets to love, Nadal found himself staring at three break points midway through the third set on Rod Laver Arena.

But he recovered and stepped up his game, clinching a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with a 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory over Medvedev in an enthralling encounter that lasted five hours and 24 minutes.

Medvedev had his chances, but the US Open champion suffered his third defeat in four major finals.

Stats Perform looks at some of the key moments.

Nadal serving at 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 2-3

Medvedev looked on his way to a deserved and resounding win when Nadal – who had lost four Australian Open finals previously – found himself in a 0-40 hole.

But a drop shot winner from Nadal was followed by a long Medvedev backhand, with the Russian trying a drop shot that the Spaniard returned too well on his final break point chance. It would prove a decisive hold for Nadal.

"Yeah, that was a good moment when I had the triple break point," Medvedev said afterwards. "Actually, I don't remember all of them in detail, but I remember that all of three returns I made it in. I just got a little bit tight. But, again, that's tennis. I should have done better. I should have hit a winner. I maybe would have won the match.

"Tactically nothing changed. I feel like I was playing right. But Rafa stepped up. The only thing that physically was a little bit up and down, and yeah, he was I think stronger than me physically today. Starting from the third set, there were some shots and points where I was a little bit on the back foot, let's call it like this. And Rafa takes control of these moments.

"But again, yeah, I have to work harder."

Medvedev serving at 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 4-4

The vocal and enthusiastic crowd was beginning to impact Medvedev, and Nadal's level was improving.

A long forehand at 15-15 was followed by an inexplicable overhead drop shot attempt by Medvedev that hit the net, leading to sarcastic clapping of the crowd.

Nadal clinched the break with a wonderful backhand winner down the line.

Medvedev serving at 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 2-2

Medvedev had already recovered from being a break down in the fourth set when Nadal struck again after a lengthy fifth game.

An excellent return saw Medvedev net a backhand and Nadal converted his seventh break point of the game with a backhand cross-court passing shot winner.

Medvedev serving at 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 4-6 5-5

Medvedev had stopped Nadal's momentum in the previous game when the Spaniard was attempting to serve out the match.

But Nadal broke again when Medvedev pulled a backhand wide before sending a forehand long.

Nadal serving at 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 6-5

Nadal was never going to let a second chance go begging.

Medvedev put a running forehand into the net and a backhand return long before an ace from Nadal set up three championship points.

He only needed one, making a backhand volley to become the first player in the Open Era to win an Australian Open final from two sets to love down.

Rafael Nadal made history by clinching a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with an extraordinary win in the Australian Open final.

The Spaniard became the first man to win 21 majors, breaking his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Nadal edged Daniil Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 in an incredible final that lasted nearly five and a half hours on Rod Laver Arena.

We take a look at each of Nadal's grand slam successes.

2005 French Open
Nadal's maiden major was largely unsurprising. Then 18, Nadal carried a 17-match winning streak to Roland Garros. Ranked fifth in the world after starting the year outside the top 50, Nadal beat Federer in the semi-finals before getting past Mariano Puerta in the decider. He became the first man to win the tournament on debut since Mats Wilander in 1982.

2006 French Open
That would be the start of an almost unstoppable run in Paris. Lleyton Hewitt and a young Djokovic were unable to halt his run in 2006 before he again overcame Federer, this time in the final, after dropping the first set. It was the Swiss great's first loss in a grand slam decider.

2007 French Open
Federer's win over Nadal in the final in Hamburg heading into the French Open gave the Swiss hope after ending the Spaniard's 81-match winning streak on clay. But after beating Hewitt, Carlos Moya and Djokovic on his way to the decider, Nadal again proved too good for Federer in four sets.

2008 French Open
Nadal made it four in a row in 2008 in ruthless fashion. He lost just 25 games on his way to the semis before beating Djokovic. Federer again stood between him and the title, and the Spaniard handed his great rival a 6-1 6-3 6-0 thrashing.

2008 Wimbledon
The next meeting between the greats would prove far closer, far more entertaining and land Nadal his first grand slam title away from Roland Garros. After an epic lasting almost five hours, Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in the fifth set on Centre Court to win the Wimbledon final in near darkness.

2009 Australian Open
Having risen to world number one for the first time in his career in August of the previous year, Nadal celebrated the top ranking by winning his first hard-court major. After a comfortable run to the last four, he edged Fernando Verdasco in an epic semi-final that lasted five hours, 14 minutes. Another four-plus hours and five sets were needed to get past Federer in the decider.

2010 French Open
Nadal suffered a first ever loss at Roland Garros the year prior, going down to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. But he reclaimed the title in 2010, beating Soderling in straight sets in the final. He did not drop a set on his way to the crown.

2010 Wimbledon
It would be a memorable 2010 for Nadal, who would win three majors in a single year for the only time in his career so far. His biggest test at the All England Club came from Philipp Petzschner in a five-setter in the third round before wins over Soderling, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych from the quarter-finals onwards.

2010 US Open
Nadal had never been beyond the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows before his first success in New York in 2010. It was a comfortable run before a four-set victory over Djokovic in the final completed his career Grand Slam.

2011 French Open
Djokovic was too good for Nadal in the Rome final before the French Open, but the Serbian fell to Federer in the semi-finals in Paris. Nadal survived a surprise five-set battle against John Isner in the first round before again beating Federer in the decider.

2012 French Open
Nadal had lost three consecutive major finals – all to Djokovic – before he turned that around at Roland Garros. After a comfortable run to the decider, he needed four sets to get past the Serbian for his record seventh French Open crown.

2013 French Open
Nadal and Djokovic met in a Paris epic the following year, this time in the semi-finals. Nadal edged a classic encounter 9-7 in the fifth before cruising past countryman David Ferrer in the decider.

2013 US Open
Djokovic would get his chance on his preferred surface in New York later that year, but Nadal proved too strong in four sets in the decider. Nadal dropped just two sets on his way to the title.

2014 French Open
Djokovic had again beaten Nadal in the Rome final, but again was unable to stop the Spaniard in Paris. Nadal was untroubled on his way to the decider before recovering from a set down in the final to again beat Djokovic. The 14th grand slam of his career saw him draw level with Pete Sampras on the all-time list.

2017 French Open
After going two years without a grand slam title, Nadal ended his 'drought' in Paris in 2017, claiming 'La Decima'. He did so without dropping a set, rushing past Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka in his final two matches. Nadal became the first man to win a single grand slam 10 times – and he remains the only one to manage that feat.

2017 US Open
More success would follow in New York in what was arguably one of the easiest runs to a major crown of Nadal's career. The highest ranked player Nadal faced was world number 28 Juan Martin del Potro in the semis before cruising past Kevin Anderson in the decider.

2018 French Open
Nadal was at it again in Paris the following year. He lost a set to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals but was otherwise relentless on his way to an 11th Roland Garros crown.

2019 French Open
Nadal was developing a new rivalry at the French Open, but it was not one to stop his success. He was again ruthless on his way to the final and for the second year in a row was too good for Thiem in the final.

2019 US Open
His run in New York was again comfortable, at least until he reached the final. Medvedev put up a huge fight in the decider, which eventually went Nadal's way after almost five hours on Arthur Ashe Stadium, as he closed to within one of Federer's 20 grand slams.

2020 French Open
Another year, another French Open title for Nadal. There was again no stopping the Spaniard as he romped through without losing a set, including demolishing Djokovic in the final.

2022 Australian Open
Nadal became the first man to win 21 grand slam titles with the unlikeliest of major crowns. Just months earlier, he had doubts over his career due to a foot injury. After reaching the final, a five-set quarter-final win over Denis Shapovalov his biggest test, Nadal produced an extraordinary comeback. After nearly five and a half hours, he came from two sets to love down against Medvedev to win the decider. He became the second man in the Open Era to win every grand slam at least twice, and was the first in the same period to come from two sets to love down and win an Australian Open final.

Already shaping as the unlikeliest grand slam success of his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal ensured it was just that after an extraordinary Australian Open final.

And what a time to deliver it, clinching a record-breaking 21st major title by beating Daniil Medvedev, breaking his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most grand slams won by a man.

Nadal himself admitted reaching the final in Melbourne was unexpected, having ended his 2021 in August and doubted his career due to a persistent foot injury.

That injury is not going away, making the success even more remarkable. After five hours and 24 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, history was made as Nadal secured a 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory.

From two sets to love down against a man 10 years younger, wrapping up at 01:11 local time (14:11 GMT).

 

Nadal had only won the Australian Open once before, in 2009. Now, he is the only champion to have ever come from two sets to love down to win in an Australian Open final in the Open Era.

Not only was Nadal two sets to love down, he faced 0-40 in the sixth game of the third set. He was also staring down an in-form opponent as Medvedev aimed to become the first man to follow up his maiden major title with another grand slam at his next event. But, spurred on by a vocal and enthusiastic Rod Laver Arena crowd, Nadal found a way. He found another level, as he has throughout his career. In fairness, Medvedev took his game up a level, too, at least until some madness in the ninth game of the third set.

That concentration lapse had cost him one set, and Medvedev was unable to deal with an increasingly excited – and sometimes disrespectful – crowd in the fourth, as well as a surging Nadal.

As Sunday ticked into Monday with the deciding set underway, Nadal broke the Medvedev serve with a forehand winner down the line in the fifth game. Even the best get nervous, though, and he relinquished that advantage when serving for the title. Yet like a typical champion, Nadal responded instantly, breaking again before serving it out to love.

In sets one and two, Nadal had 21 winners and 36 unforced errors, turning that into 48 and 32 respectively in the final three.

For just the third time in his illustrious career, Nadal had completed a comeback from two sets to love down at a grand slam. And he has now won every grand slam at least twice, becoming just the second man in the Open Era to manage that, alongside Djokovic.

Such a moment had seemed unlikely just months ago, when Nadal and his team had doubts over whether he would ever return to the ATP Tour due to his foot injury.

Nadal says those doubts remain, but his start to 2022 suggests he is, as ever, a contender as long as he remains on the court. However unlikely, even if looking impossible, Nadal is still capable of the absurd.

Rafael Nadal made history in stunning fashion as he came from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in the men's Australian Open final, sealing a record 21st grand slam title.

All the talk before the tournament had been about Novak Djokovic and whether the world number one would be able to compete to achieve the same feat, but it was Nadal who secured the historic victory at Rod Laver Arena, beating Medvedev 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 in a marathon five hours and 24 minutes.

It is only the second Australian Open title of Nadal's decorated career but puts him out ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer (both 20) as the man to have won the most grand slams of all time.

He had looked down and out at times in the third set but showed typical determination to get better as the match went on, while Medvedev appeared to visibly tire as he saw his lead disappear into the night sky in Melbourne.

The first set began with Medvedev asking questions of Nadal, although initially the 35-year-old had answers with some classic forehand winners.

However, the unforced errors from the Spaniard began to pile up and he was broken to love in the fifth game. From there, Medvedev dominated the remainder of the opening set, breaking again and taking it 6-2.

It did not bode well for Nadal, who had won only three of his 10 prior major finals in which the opener had gone to his opponent.

The number six seed was struggling on his first serve, getting just 54 per cent in – his next lowest in a first set in this tournament had been 66 per cent in the second round win against Yannick Hanfmann.

Nadal showed some resilience, though, and hit a sensational winner at the end of a 40-shot rally in the fourth game of the second set, in which he ultimately broke Medvedev for the first time, only to be broken back to 4-3 as those serving struggles continued.

A back-and-forth affair saw four breaks of serve and the set ended with a tie-break, which Medvedev clinched with a backhand winner down the line to leave Nadal looking down the barrel of a defeat.

However, Nadal was not going to go down without a fight and showed some of his trademark grit in the third to stay with Medvedev, who was, if anything, playing even better than in the first two sets. Nadal had to save break points in the sixth game to eventually hold serve, before breaking in the ninth and serving out to somehow get back to within a set.

The drama did not stop in the fourth as two holds of serve were followed by three straight breaks to put Nadal 3-2 ahead. Both men were forced to save multiple break points thereafter, but Nadal successfully held serve to take it 6-4 and force a decider.

Medvedev looked to be wilting and was hanging on at the start of the fifth, before some superb Nadal winners earned a break in the fifth game.

The Russian made his opponent work hard for his victory and dramatically broke back to level when Nadal was serving for the championship, only for the veteran to break straight back before finally sealing the win and his place in the history books with a backhand volley that Medvedev could not return.

 

DATA SLAM: No Melbourne misery for Nadal

Nadal also becomes the second man in the Open Era – and only fourth in history – to win each grand slam at least twice, after Djokovic, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.

Despite still boasting an impressive overall record in grand slam finals at 20-8 going into this match, Nadal was 1-4 in Australian Open finals. He looked sure to make that 1-5 after the first two sets but showed remarkable fortitude to turn things around.

This was Medvedev's second Australian Open final defeat having lost to Djokovic last year, and his second grand slam final defeat to Nadal after losing to him at the 2019 US Open.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 69/68
Medvedev – 76/52

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 3/5
Medvedev – 23/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/22
Medvedev – 6/22

Daniil Medvedev conceded he was out of his mind when he embarked on an extraordinary rant at the chair umpire during his Australian Open win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Russian, who came from two sets down to see off Felix Auger-Aliassime in the last round, roared into a second consecutive Melbourne final as he downed Tsitsipas in a fiery last-four showdown.

Medvedev ultimately triumphed 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 to set up a final with Rafael Nadal but it was a contest in which tempers frayed, mostly on US Open champion's side of the net.

Second seed Medvedev felt Tsitsipas' father was coaching from the sidelines and received a warning for his persistent complaining.

He stopped short of accusing Tsitsipas of cheating but explained his mindset at length in the post-match news conference.

Medvedev said: "Cheating, not at all. First of all I got broken - I got a little bit mad. I thought the referee could do a little bit better with the crowd, just to say, 'Quiet please', or something like this. 

"Didn't see him doing that often and I made a terrible double fault, got a code when I was just showing everybody that I'm cramping.

"I cannot toss the ball with my left hand because everybody's screaming, so my serve was terrible.

"To be honest, before every return his father was talking Greek. I don't know, maybe he's saying, 'Come on, come on', there is no problem.

"But then the referee, I asked him if he can talk. He said he can talk but he can't coach. Then I said, 'Do you speak Greek?' 

"If not, the guy is talking, talking, talking. I don't know what he says, but if it's a coach - I don't consider coaching as cheating but it should be a code violation. Then second one would be a bit tricky."

Medvedev branded the umpire "a small cat" in his astonishing on-court outburst.

He added: "You guys are laughing, so I think we can say it was funny, but I was definitely out of my mind. I was not controlling myself anymore about anything.

"That's actually why I'm really happy to win. Many matches like this I would go on to do mistakes - you lose your concentration with things in the heat of the moment. I'm so happy that I managed to catch it really fast."

Medvedev often feels regret after his outbursts, but concedes they sometimes give him the fuel to win.

"I regret it all the time, because I don't think it's nice." he said. "I know that every referee is trying to do their best.

"In tennis we don't fight with the fists but tennis is a fight. It's a one-on-one against another player. 

"So I'm actually really respectful to players who never, almost never show their emotions because it's tough, I can get really emotional. 

"I have been working on it. So many matches I handle it. If we look back at myself five years ago when I started playing, just started playing, there was less attention on me, but I was just insanely crazy.

"I'm working on it. Helps me to win matches, I know. So I do regret it 100 per cent, but again, in the heat of the moment, I just lost it."

Tsitsipas suggested the Russian was lacking in maturity, saying about the rant: "Well, it's for sure funny!

"It's funny. I don't pay attention to the stuff. I know players like to do this stuff to throw you off mentally. Could be maybe a tactic? It is all right, he is not the most mature person anyways."

Of the allegation he received coaching, Tsitsipas replied: "I wasn't - you saw me the other day, losing the score twice in two of my matches. I cannot hear anything when I'm playing. 

"It's impossible. Having the crowd being so loud in every single point, you have to have super hearing to be able to hear what your coach says.

"I'm used to it. They've been targeting me already a long time. The umpires are always paying attention to my box, never paying attention to the opponent's box. 

"Last thing I want is someone giving me tips and giving me advice on what I should do. I'm not the kind of person that would try and listen when out there competing, playing. In practice, maybe."

But Medvedev was reluctant to get into a war of words with Tsitsipas.

He said: "No, I don't want to get too much into this, because again, it was nothing against Stefanos, nothing during this match and I feel like I didn't talk about him. 

"I just talked about the rule, because again, I don't know what his father is saying. Maybe he's just saying, 'Let's go next point'. It's completely allowed. 

"I don't know Greek. Same about the umpire. He should just, I don't know, talk to Stefanos first maybe, [tell him to] say something to your father. 

"If my coach would be talking in French to me before every point, even I would say, 'Stop it. It's not allowed'. So it was only about this."

Tsitsipas revealed he had regularly discussed the topic with his father and ultimately believes coaching should be legalised.

He added: "My father, look, he's a person that when he gets into something when there is a lot of action, his medicine is to talk, and you can't stop it. It's something that he does from nature.

"I've tried, spent countless hours trying to figure it out with him, but it's part of him. 

"Last year I went out publicly on one of my social media platforms and said that I think coaching should be allowed, simply because coaches do it anyways. 

"Most of them get away with it, and they do it pretty smartly, I can tell you."

Daniil Medvedev roared into a second consecutive Australian Open final as he downed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a fiery last-four showdown.

The Russian, who came from two sets down to see off Felix Auger-Aliassime in the last round, triumphed 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 to set up a final with Rafael Nadal.

The US Open champion improved his head-to-head record with Tsitsipas to 7-2 in a contest where tempers frayed, mostly on Medvedev's side of the net.

He accused Tsitsipas' father of coaching from the sidelines and received a warning for his persistent complaining, but the second seed also managed to channel his aggression into a stellar performance.

The first set went the distance after Tsitsipas, who employed a bold approach in taking the match to Medvedev, fended off three break points when serving at 4-4.

Medvedev was 4-2 down in the tie-break but dug deep to claim it, underlining his mental toughness when backed into a corner.

Tsitsipas maintained his positive attitude and broke in the opening game of the second set, only to surrender that advantage in a sloppy sixth game as his accuracy abandoned him.

It was Medvedev who lost his way at 4-4, though, two double faults and a terribly skewed forehand seeing him lose serve, with Tsitsipas capitalising to seal the set.

Medvedev lost his cool with the umpire, bemoaning supposed coaching from Tsitsipas' father, but it only seemed to fuel him.

With Tsitsipas serving to stay in the set, Medvedev showed his range with a drop-shot winner and double-handed forehand bullet en route to a timely break to reclaim the lead.

And he was at his imperious best in the fourth, producing an array of stunning passing shots as Tsitsipas simply ran out of answers.

Medvedev now has the chance to go one better than last year, when he lost in the final to Novak Djokovic.

DATA SLAM: Medvedev clinical behind first serve

Medvedev had to put a gruelling five-set quarter-final clash behind him on Rod Laver Arena and it did appear to take him some time to find his groove.

But he applied huge pressure with his consistency on his first serve, winning 91 per cent of those points.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev – 39/28
Tsitsipas – 35/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev – 13/4
Tsitsipas – 5/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev – 4/12
Tsitsipas – 2/4

Just months ago, there were doubts over Rafael Nadal's future. Now, he is a win away from a record-breaking major triumph.

Nadal overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in the Australian Open semi-finals on Friday, reaching his 29th grand slam decider.

The Spaniard is a win away from a 21st grand slam title, which would break his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most won by a man.

Such events looked incredibly unlikely just months ago.

Nadal ended his 2021 season in August after playing just seven events, a persistent foot injury not only derailing his season but threatening his career.

"Everybody around me, me included, of course, but everybody around me had a lot of doubts. Not about the Australian Open, no, but about coming back on the Tour because the foot was bothering me a lot of days," Nadal said after his third-round win over Karen Khachanov.

"Of course, still today there are doubts because the foot, as I said the other day, is an injury we cannot fix … so we need to find a way that the pain is under control to play, to keep playing. That's the goal.

"Honestly, I was not able to practice very often. But when I was practising, the feeling on the ball was quite good. There have been a lot of months without competing. The movements, all this stuff, you need to recover day by day. There is no way to recover those things without competing. That's what I need, keep playing. Already three and three, so six matches on my back, and positive ones. Every day a little bit better, so I'm happy for that."

 

After a four-month absence, Nadal made his return at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi in December. Days later, he tested positive for COVID-19.

Still, he made the trip to Australia, winning his 89th ATP Tour title at the Melbourne Summer Set, his first hard-court crown since February 2020.

That success was incredible, given Nadal played just 14 tournaments in total in 2020 and 2021.

"Of course, when you are getting a little bit older, all the comebacks are tougher," Nadal said after beating Marcos Giron in the opening round. "This has been especially, well, difficult because it's not only a comeback from an injury, it's a comeback trying to be back on the Tour after almost two years playing not many events with the virus.

"If you remember in 2020 I only played here and Acapulco, then I just played in Rome, Roland Garros, Paris and London. Six events.

"In 2021 I played just here and then [it] was clay, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros. Washington, yeah. Another six events – 12 events in two years are not many. If we add that I was not able to practice very often, too, it's a really tough one, no?

"But here I am. I am super happy about all the work that we have done to try to be back. We are here enjoying the tennis, and that's it. We're going to keep trying hard."

Nadal is back. Not just back playing, but back fighting his way into grand slam finals, and back in position to make more history.

Rafael Nadal insisted his run to the Australian Open final was "completely unexpected" after moving to within a win of a record-breaking grand slam title.

Nadal, 35, overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in their semi-final under the Rod Laver Arena roof on Friday.

After doubts over his career due to a persistent foot injury, Nadal is into a 29th grand slam final and a win away from a 21st major crown, which would break a tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most won by a man.

The Spaniard said he had no expectations to reach the decider in Melbourne, where Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas await.

"For me it's something completely unexpected, so I am super happy. Of course everybody knows me, and I'm always going to try my best. Of course my goal now is to win," Nadal told a news conference.

"As I said, for me, it's a present, just be here and play tennis. I am taking now things a little bit in a different way, of course always with competitive spirit that I have, because I can't go against that. It's my personal DNA.

"But in some way, I don't know, just be what I am and be able to have the chance to compete at this level, it's a positive energy for me to keep going, because at the end of the day, and being very honest, for me it's much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win the 21. Because that makes me more happy in terms of general life to be able to do the thing that I like to do more than achieving another grand slam.

"At the end of the day, life, it's about happiness and what makes me happy. It's about just having the chance to do what I like to do."

 

Nadal ended his 2021 season in August and, after a four-month absence, returned for an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last month.

He claimed his 89th ATP Tour title in Melbourne earlier this month before progressing to the Australian Open final.

"I feel alive in terms of my tennis life, you know, in terms of my tennis career," Nadal said.

"In my personal life, I honestly have a good life. I feel lucky that my family is healthy, and during these challenging times that's everything. More important than tennis, for sure. 100 per cent.

"But, yeah, I explained before, for a long time I wasn't able to practice. Sometimes I went on court and I was able to practice 20 minutes, sometimes 45, sometimes zero, sometimes two hours, but have been very, very rough in terms of imagining myself playing at the best-of-five at this moment.

"So, yeah, I don't know. Super happy. It's true that I worked hard for a long time every single day in terms of when I was not able to play tennis I was working hard in the gym.

"I think I'm never going to say I deserve, because a lot of people deserve. But I worked the proper way, and I hold the positive spirit and attitude to have the chance to give myself a chance to be back."

Rafael Nadal is a win away from a record-breaking 21st grand slam title after getting past Matteo Berrettini to reach the Australian Open final on Friday.

Nadal overcame the Italian seventh seed 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 after two hours, 55 minutes under the Rod Laver Arena roof in their semi-final on a stormy day in Melbourne.

The Spanish star will face either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the decider, in which he can break the record for most grand slam titles won by a man.

Nadal had won his only previous meeting with Berrettini and he targeted the Italian's backhand from the outset, and it worked wonders.

Berrettini, however, fought hard and forced a fourth set against Nadal, who reached his sixth Australian Open final and 29th major decider, a tally only bettered by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (31 each).

 

Nadal targeted the Berrettini backhand from the start, and it helped yield a break in the second game.

Back-to-back unforced errors from that wing, the second pulled wide, from Berrettini handed Nadal a 2-0 lead.

That break proved to be enough for Nadal in a 43-minute opening set, closed out despite Berrettini briefly threatening in the ninth game.

Perhaps still recovering from the disappointment of the first set, Berrettini was broken to start the second, three unforced errors – two from a forehand side that had appeared capable of doing damage to Nadal – giving the Spaniard a break point he converted with a forehand winner.

Berrettini had no answers to Nadal's consistency and relentlessness and even his forehand was beginning to let him down as he fell 3-0 behind in the second set, a deficit he was never going to recover from.

Nadal was unable to pull away early in the third set and instead it was Berrettini, suddenly sparked to life and looking far more energetic, who struck to break for 5-3.

A running forehand pass down the line helped set up the break chance and Berrettini delivered a forehand winner before serving it out to love.

Berrettini went on a run of winning 23 consecutive points on serve, but when that was ended in the eighth game of the fourth set, he found trouble.

He saved a break point after a 23-shot rally but then netted consecutive forehands to fall 5-3 behind, Nadal closing out his victory to reach the final.

 

DATA SLAM: Nadal showing no signs of slowing down

Even at 35, Nadal has reached yet another grand slam final.

He became the fifth man aged 35 or older to reach a grand slam final in the Open Era, after Federer, Ken Rosewall, Mal Anderson and Andre Agassi.

The win over Berrettini also saw Nadal beat a top-10 player at the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 28/19
Berrettini – 38/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/2
Berrettini – 14/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 4/8
Berrettini – 1/2

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