Like a lot of tournaments these days, the Australian Open had a plethora of obstacles thrown its way with COVID-19, border restrictions and a host of other things that come with it.
Despite all the pre-tournament drama and last year's February start date, the 2022 tournament still went ahead in the scheduled time allotment of January 17 through to January 30.
With all the different barriers, it seemed impossible to many that we would see a good tournament. The number one player in the world and arguably the greatest player of all time Novak Djokovic wouldn't be playing and the tournament had announced crowd caps of 50%. The usual draw card of Roger Federer was once again absent and it seemed destined that Omicron would find its way in to ruin the Open.
Little did we know that the 2022 Australian Open would end up being one of the most memorable grand slams ever which would be full of fireworks, great atmospheres and sheer brilliance.
Whilst there were many qualifying matches that went before, the official tournament began with 128 men's and women's singles players, 64 mixed doubles teams and 64 men's and women's doubles teams.
Among these five different competitions, there would only be five winners.
Early on in the tournament, it seemed like just the average Australian Open with most big matches having pretty comfortable winners. It was once again Nick Kyrgios who was forced to light up the tournament during those first few days on John Cain Arena. And whilst that spark did last a little while, he was ultimately knocked out early on against Daniil Medvedev in an intriguing four-set match.
For the Aussies, just four singles players made it through to the third round comprising of top seeds Ash Barty and Alex De Minaur alongside surprise packets Christopher O'Connell and Madison Inglis.
Meanwhile, in the doubles, there were some big upsets as per usual with none bigger than Kyrgios and Kokkinakis taking down the number one seeded Croatians Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in straight sets.
Throughout the first week, the main upsets in the men's included Hubert Hurkacz going down to Adrian Mannarino and Marin Cilic beating fifth seed Andrey Rublev.
The women's side of the draw also had multiple upsets. Among these, previous Australian Open champion Anglique Kerber went down to Estonian Kaia Kanepi, previous finalist Petra Kvitova lost in straight sets to Sorana Cirstea and Danka Kovinic beat last year's US Open champion Emma Radacanu in the second round. However, the biggest upset of all came in the third round when young American Amanda Anisimova beat reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
Moving onto the second week of the Aussie Open, there was the usual Aussie hope for those remaining in the competition, particularly around Ash Barty and doubles pair Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis. However, this remained as just a cautious optimism for most fans, understandable considering Australia's recent poor history at the Open.
As the second week began, it seemed more and more likely that Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev would battle it out in the final with both players fighting hard and well to get through their earlier rounds. This seemed especially likely following the upset of German Alexander Zverev, losing to Canadian big-hitter Dennis Shapovalov.
In fact, from this point on, the higher seed amazingly ended up winning every single match.
From Tuesday onwards on the women's side, the favourite won every single match other than when Danielle Collins beat French Open champion Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals.
In the end, we had our two finals match-ups all locked in: Ash Barty vs Danielle Collins and Rafael Nadal vs Daniil Medvedev. Collins was the only surprise out of these with the other three in most people's finals predictions from the start of the tournament.
Generally in the doubles, there isn't much hype surrounding the players. However, this year, with the "Special K's" attracting absolutely massive crowds, the hype increased exponentially. The crowd seemingly went into raptures after every point. Having somehow made it through every single round up until the Final, the two best mates were going to play fellow Aussies Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the decider.
Meanwhile, in the women's doubles, number one seeded Czech couplet Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova brought home the title whilst in the mixed doubles, Aussies Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler were defeated by Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig in the final.
For many Australian fans, Barty and the "Speciak K's" loomed as favourites, while Nadal garnered significant support against the often maligned Medvedev.
First up was Barty on a warm Saturday night. She looked comfortable during the first set before seemingly struggling in the second thanks to a barrage from Collins. Despite being down 5-1, Barty came back to win the second set in a tiebreak and grant Australia their first Australian Open winner since 1978. The scenes at Rod Laver Arena that followed were incredibly special for Barty and those watching on.
Following that, the "Special K's" came out and put together a very serious and professional performance which saw them win in straight sets. Australia now also had its first doubles title of the century in a night to remember in Australian sport.
On the final night of the Open, Rafa seemed lost and off his game in the opening moments of the match. He quickly went down a set and despite managing to break Medvedev's serve to give himself a 5-3 lead, he eventually lost the second set. Two sets down to love.
It seemed impossible that Nadal could win from there, especially when taking into account the fact that he had not won from two sets down since 2007 and that no male player in the Open Era had won the Australian Open final from two sets down before.
Even for those supporting Nadal, it seemed improbable that a 35-year-old coming off a foot injury and COVID could beat a guy at the top of his game.
Then Nadal went down down 3-2 and 0-40. With Medvedev so close to the title, it seemed as if the game was basically over, and yet Nadal managed to somehow scrape out the game, then the set and then ultimately the match.
There were so many twists and so many turns with multiple breaks of serve at unexpected times, such as when Nadal was serving for the match at 5-3, reminiscent of his Australian Open losses in 2012 and 2017.
However, Nadal's unbelievable grit and determination along with the crowd at his back brought him all the way to the finish line in one of the best Grand Slam Finals in recent memory and probably the best comeback of Nadal's career, if not ever.
Most importantly, Nadal finished the night with 21 Grand Slams, one better than other legends and his rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
It was an absolutely incredible end to the tournament and one that will most likely never be topped again.