Defending champion Rafael Nadal was left without the racquet he wanted to use in his opening match against Britain’s Jack Draper after a ballboy seemingly took the wrong one to the stringer to be repaired.
“The ballboy took my racquet” 😂
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2023
“I need the racquet back. I need the dampener and everything. The ball boy took my racquet,” Nadal told the umpire at the changeover with the score 4-3 in his favour.
Despite the missing racquet the 22-times major winner took the first set 7-5. However, Drapper made a strong comeback in the second set, winning it by 6-2. Nadal won the third set by 6-4 to take a 2-1 lead.
Nadal earned his 21st Grand Slam trophy via an epic comeback, turning things around to beat Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. It was the first time in 57 years that a man won an Australian Open final after dropping the first two sets.
Nadal has 22 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for men — one more than Djokovic, two more than Federer — and one away from the overall Open era mark held by Williams.