Rafa Nadal after victory in Melbourne. | Loren Elliott

.. Who else could it possibly have been? It wasn’t just that Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open, it was how he came to win it. Injury in 2021, which at one point had looked as if it might be career-ending, meant that he had little match practice going into the tournament. Few gave him a realistic chance of winning. Even without Djokovic and Federer, there were the younger guns like Medvedev. Nadal surprised by getting to the final. But to then come back from two sets to love down to take the championship was simply remarkable. The greatest of all time? Twenty-one Grand Slams, for now, suggest so.

Three cheers...

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For the Spanish government’s decision to scrap the obligatory wearing of masks outdoors. While there will be those in favour of maintaining the rule and others who will in any event continue to wear masks, the elimination of this mandatory requirement marks - we all hope - a further step on the road to a return to normality. Moreover, having reintroduced the requirement in December, it is questionable how effective the measure was in terms of compliance or enforcement. But with masks to now go, will the Balearic government decide that it needs to extend the Covid passport beyond the end of this month? In the name of public health.

A big boo....

Contaminación la bahía de Palma

For reaching for the fines every time there is some new legislation. The Balearic government’s much-publicised new tourism law would be nothing if attention were not paid to the fines regime due to underpin it. If hotels don’t comply with the planned requirement to replace existing beds with ones that lift up, they will cop for a 500 euros fine per bed.

Talk about the stick, but then the stick of fines is always given great prominence. It’s as if legislation exists solely for this purpose, such is the publicity. And what of the carrot? The amount on offer from the government in the form of subsidies to replace beds is said to be way short of what’s needed.