Rafael Nadal has lifted this year’s Australian open title after a thrilling encounter in Melbourne which lasted over five hours, 16 minutes.

Daniil Medvedev tipped to grab the title shot into an early lead, winning two straight sets, 6-2, 7-6.

But Nadal staged a strong comeback from two sets against, unto the road to victory, winning 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Speaking after the Medvedev congratulated Nadal, saying he was shocked his opponent showed no signs of tiredness.

He paid tribute to the fans and thanked members of his family and his team for their support throughout the competition.

Paying tribute to his opponent, Nadal said it was an honour to play against the World No 2, saying he had no doubt Medvedev has the capacity to lift more trophies in the future.

No one had given Nadal who came off a surgical table a chance to win against the Russian who has been playing the best tennis of his life.

One commentator described the battle for the trophy as something out of a fairy book akin to a “Cinderella” tale.

Nadal demonstrated sheer will, tenacity and courage, but in the end it was tennis which won.

Fans were thrilled throughout the five-hour encounter in which Nadal emerged triumphant.

After the match, Nadal retired to the gym where he rode on a bike to tone down eking muscles.

It was perhaps proof that after five grilling hours, the Spaniard still has what it takes to go the distance.

Novak Djokovic, defending champion, who probably watched from the side at home may be wondering why it is, he failed to take a COVID shot.

He was deported from Australia where he was quarantined despite a fierce legal battle.

The Australians held unto entry regulations which say anyone visiting the country must show proof that the COVID vaccine has been taken.