The 2022 Australian Open produced countless thrilling moments to kick off this year’s tennis slate, with no shortage of drama and excitement for tennis enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy. The sport’s greatest stars descended on Melbourne to compete in the season’s first Grand Slam, with a rollercoaster of upset performances and breakout rising stars taking center stage. But through it all, when the curtains finally closed on two weeks of incredible tennis down under, two familiar faces reigned supreme as singles champions: Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal. Both players made history (albeit in very different ways) as they captured the glory in Melbourne Park and will now be carrying their momentum into the 2022 BNP Paribas Open in March.
The history-making championship matches got underway Saturday with Ash Barty defeating American underdog Danielle Collins in a convincing straight-set performance. Barty’s win earned her a spot in the record books as the first Aussie-born player to win a singles title at the Australian Open in 44 years. The 25-year-old ended the Australian national championship drought in dominant fashion, going the entire tournament without dropping a set. The world’s No. 1 now has some major confidence to build on as she hunts down a first Indian Wells title in the desert.
The energy around Barty’s victory stole the spotlight to begin championship weekend, but the men’s final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev picked up right where the women left off. The Spanish legend rallied from a remarkable two sets behind in Sunday’s final to solidify an improbable comeback victory that made for one of the most dramatic championship matches in recent memory.
The upset over the steely Russian gave Nadal just his second Australian Open title but made for his 21st Grand Slam overall win. The victory in Melbourne moves Nadal into sole first place in men’s Grand Slam titles, pushing ahead of longtime rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic who both currently sit at 20. Nadal looked unflappable throughout the entire tournament, at times falling behind in matches but always bouncing back with the resilience and resolve that have molded him into one of the game’s all-time greats.
With the 2022 BNP Paribas Open just around the corner, two of the world’s greatest talents in Barty and Nadal are playing their best tennis at the perfect time. As both stars had to withdraw from last year’s tournament, March provides fans with the opportunity to secure their tickets for the first chance to see Barty and Nadal in Tennis Paradise in over two years.
Barty will make her way to Tennis Paradise in an attempt to win her first-career championship in the desert, while Rafa returns to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as a three-time champion. The Spaniard secured his first title in Indian Wells back in 2007 and followed it up with another title in the desert just two years later in 2009. The 2013 BNP Paribas Open produced one of Nadal’s signature moments in Tennis Paradise, as he battled back from a set down to defeat Juan Martín Del Potro and secure his third crown in the desert.
Now that Ash Barty has an Australian Open title on her resume, her sights will be set on capturing a BNP Paribas title in idyllic Tennis Paradise. Her performance in Melbourne will surely make her the favorite on the women’s side of the draw, and the excitement of Tennis Paradise is guaranteed to fuel her fire as she looks to continue her hot start to the 2022 season.
Don’t miss the return of these superstars, as well as many other top WTA and ATP Tour players, as the action kicks off for the 2022 BNP Paribas Open on March 7 – 20!