Rafael Nadal digs dip to clinch dramatic US Open victory

13 Septembre, 2019, 22:55 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Tennis | US Open 2019 | Three thoughts on Nadal's Slam tally after being pushed the distance by Medvedev

In front of him was a young opponent in his first slam final who displays aspects of Djokovic's stretching defence and Federer's outrageous cleverness.

It was Medvedev, an unorthodox and unpredictable shotmaker from Russian Federation with a taste for risk but also an astonishing ability to extend points.

It was the second Slam title of the year for Nadal after taking his 12th French Open crown in June.

But the 23-year-old won the crowd over during his run to the final, where he was attempting to become the youngest Grand Slam champion since Juan Martin del Potro won the US Open in 2009.

But while the youth movement is well underway in the women's game, regime change will have to wait a little longer still in men's tennis.

After eventually emerging with a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Daniil Medvedev in a memorable seesaw of a US Open final last Sunday, Nadal insisted that, yes, he wants the record by the time he's done, but, no, it's not all that matters to him or how he'll define his own happiness.

It was a great tussle and a fitting way to mark the end of a great decade in men's tennis at the majors.

Sunday's teeth-grinding five setter, which he could have ended way before its eventual four hours and 50 minutes duration, proved to everyone - including the victor - that, at 33, he has the will to continue. At the end of the 2009 season, the top three players in the rankings were Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic.

The battle for most Grand Slams is expected to go on with Nadal aged 33 and Djokovic 32.

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Nadal, who was in his fifth US Open championship match and 27th Grand Slam final, is the first man to claim five major titles after turning 30. Winning Wimbledon in 2003, the man known as "Fed Ex" (it's short for the Federer Express) has become the default answer when anyone asks who the greatest men's tennis player of all time is. "It's very exciting to see new faces coming up in the WTA, and maybe we need that here as well". "People saw why he is already No. 4 in the world". "We saw so many aspects of Rafa's game, and he played his best match of the tournament". Only bona fide champions can win when it looks likely they will lose.

It can not be sooner than 2020 now. Tears were rolling down his eyes as the large video screen at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows took him - and everyone present there - on a walk down memory lane by showing the highlights of a remarkable career with a stop at every Grand Slam title Nadal had achieved. I would love to be the one who has more, yes. Watch brands are eager to sponsor elite athletes, from tennis champions like Nadal and Federer to fighters like Floyd Mayweather , not for their horological expertise but for their aura which sells.

"I have a really good memory if we talk about tennis".

He recognised in Medvedev not just the tennis qualities of Federer and Djokovic but the extra ingredient it takes to be different from the others. "When you are out there, tactically it's tougher than against anybody else".

It also, Nadal said, made "this day unforgettable, part of my history". "I hope I grew a lot doing these things".

I realized I needed to forget about my heart there for them, he said. They got that, too, after Medvedev earned the only break of the fourth at 5-4. Nadal came of age also playing best-of-five in Davis Cup and even in the Olympic final and some Masters 1000 finals on the regular tour. Nadal is 22-12. And suddenly, here we are in a fifth set, and the crowd is engaged.

"A couple of several years ago, I would not have thought that could be achievable", he said. But at some point mentally, yes.

"My wife always tells me that I have to be happy about myself sometimes, because I'm really self-criticising", said Medvedev.

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