Thanks to the overwhelming support of the capacity crowd at Rod Lever Arena on Sunday, Rafael Nadal was able to summon the energy to battle back from two sets down and engineer the best comeback of his storied career to beat Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to capture his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.
It was five hours and 24 minutes of nail-biting action, with the 35-year old Spaniard giving fans a masterclass of digging deep to fight to the finish.
Now Nadal stands alone with the most Grand Slam wins in men's tennis history.
It was as if the crowd at Melbourne Park knew they would be witnessing history. Even tennis great Rod Laver was on hand in the stadium that bears his name to take in the exciting final.
Throughout the night, Medvedev was in control, besting his opponent with his superior court position and ability to return serves. But in the end, it was Nadal who showed extraordinary resilience to turn Rod Laver Arena from a house of heartbreak to an arena of euphoria.
He has come up short on this same court many times since winning it in 2009. But now he finally has a second major triumph in Australia.
It wasn't that long ago that Nadal was doubting his return to the sport after dealing with a career-threatening foot injury.
To do what he did at this point in his career, having to come from behind after struggling mightily early on, showed why he is a legend of the sport.
"First of all I know it's a tough moment, Daniil, you are an amazing champion," Nadal said per Daniel Harris of The Guardian. He continued:
"I've been in this position a couple of times in this tournament, having chances to have the trophy with me, but I don't have any doubt that you have this trophy a couple of times in your career, because you're amazing, so I want to congratulate you. It was one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career and to share a court with you is just an honor, so all the best in the future.
"[Addressing the crowd] I even don't know what to say guys. For me, it's just amazing, being honest, one month and a half ago, I didn't know if I was going to be able to be back on the tour playing tennis again. And today I'm here in front of all you with this trophy with me, and you don't know how much I've fought to be here. I can't thank you enough for all the support I've had since I arrived here, you are just amazing."
Australian Open Prize-Money Payouts
There's likely no amount of money that would be enough to top winning a 21st Grand Slam title, but the Australian Open still has to pay out the prize money.
And in victory, Nadal will take home $2,071,064, which is slightly less than last year's $2.13 million.
So while the overall purse amount increased for this year's tournament, the individual payouts decreased.
Medvedev, for his efforts in the hard-fought match, will take home $1,134,583, which is down from $1.16 million in 2021.
Ashleigh Barty, the first Australian to win an Australian Open singles title since 1978, will, like Nadal, put $2,071,064 in her bank account.
"We're offering 17 professional events over four weeks," Tournament director Craig Tiley told Scott Spits of The Age in December. "You're going to be looking at a prize-money pool for four weeks for all of the events, more playing opportunities than ever before than we've had. The opportunities we're providing professional players, will be second to none."
Here's a complete look at the prize purse payouts for the 2022 Australian Open.
Men's and Women's Singles
Round 4: $236,281
Round 3: $159,202
Round 2: $110,937
Round 1: $74,198
Round 3 qualifying: $53,500
Round 2 qualifying: $35,500
Round 1 qualifying: $25,250
Men's and Women's Doubles
Round 3: $47,004
Round 2: $32,489
Round 1: $21,647
Round 2: $8,866
Round 1: $4,630