Aussie player returns serve after rival's brutal dig at Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal (pictured right) celebrating after his title at the Australian Open and (pictured left) Novak Djokovic looking at his players box.
Aussie Ellen Perez has defended Rafa Nadal (pictured right) from criticism after his title at the Australian Open. (Getty Images)

Australian tennis player Ellen Perez has defended Rafa Nadal after a rival attempted to diminish his historic 21st grand slam title.

The tennis would was full of plaudits for Nadal after he prevailed in what has been described as the 'greatest comeback' in the Ope Era to defeat Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in the Australian Open final.

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Nadal's win took him past both Djokovic and Roger Federer on the men's all-time leader board for grand slams.

But it appears not all players were happy in celebrating the achievement.

Damir Džumhur seems to have taken exception to Nadal's win and claimed it wasn't as legitimate considering the defending champ wasn't at Melbourne Park.

He was referring to Novak Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, who was deported after his visa was revoked from Australian authorities.

And Džumhur claimed Djokovic was still the 'Greatest Of All Time' even if Nadal had overtaken him in the race.

Now, Aussie player Perez has dismissed the notion that Nadal's historic feat was anything short of remarkable.

Perez hit back at Džumhur and said: “Imagine competing at a Djokovic-less slam and not winning it and then going on to say anyone can win it…. Logic = 0.”

Nadal said the 21st title was amazing, but his main aim before the final was securing just his second Australian Open title.

The Spaniard had lost four times in the Australian Open final, before 2022, with his maiden title coming back in 2009.

The win meant he became just the second men's player to have at least two grand slam titles at each major, joining Djokovic.

Considering the Spaniard had spent more than six months off tour with a career-threatening foot injury, Nadal said he was overwhelmed being back on court in 2022.

Rafa Nadal exhausted after Aus Open win

Djokovic showed some class after Nadal's historic Australian Open victory.

Djokovic took to Twitter to hail Nadal's 'amazing' achievement, also congratulating Ash Barty on winning the women's title.

Ellen Perez (pictured) plays a forehand.
Ellen Perez (pictured) defended Rafa Nadal from criticsm after his Australian Open title. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images) (Mike Owen via Getty Images)

"Congratulations to Rafael Nadal for 21st GS. Amazing achievement,” he wrote.

“Always impressive fighting spirit that prevailed another time.

"Daniel Medvedev gave it his all out there and played with the passion and determination we have come to expect from him."

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