Rafael Nadal now finds US Open a second home after clay

Tanya Simon
September 11, 2019

World number two Rafael Nadal survived a comeback from 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev in a five set thriller in US Open final to capture his 19th Grand Slam title.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the championship trophy during the presentation ceremony after their Men's Singles final match on day fourteen of the 2019 US Open.

Nadal was broken in the 10th game of the fourth set to force a fifth when Medvedev blasted a sterling backhand return victor.

Quite aside from a decent fourth US Open title, of course the real impact is this title puts Nadal within just one more Slam of equalling Roger Federer's current tally of 20 Slams.

After his latest Grand Slam win at the US Open, Rafael Nadal was given the silent treatment by most Barcelona-based newspapers who chose not to appraise the Spaniard, despite his most recent incredible victory.

"You guys were pushing me to prolong this match because you want to see more tennis".

At that moment, Medvedev would joke afterward, this is where his thoughts were: "OK, in 20 minutes I have to give a speech. I think it's Rafa who had something to lose", added Medvedev.

Nadal says he wants to finish his career at No. 1 in the Grand Slam standings - ahead of Federer and Novak Djokovic, looming in third place now with 16 - but also insists he won't base his happiness on how it all shakes out in the end. Nadal also reserved praise for his opponent, expressing his belief that the Russian has a bright future in the sport.

Medvedev, Nadal played extraordinary tennis in US Open final, says expert
Nadal , 33, now has 19 major championships, putting him just one behind Roger Federer's 20 and three ahead of Novak Djokovic's 16. Nadal couldn't hold off another Medvedev rally, and the Russian dug deep to take the fourth set and force a fifth.

Yet, all arguments in favour of Nadal's singular greatness tend to be shot down with two easy riders: Nadal being an aesthetically "uglier" player than Federer; and Nadal's proclivity to dominate on one particular surface.

"I was being myself", said the 23-year-old.

On Monday, the same three men are still on top, with Djokovic at No. 1, Nadal in hot pursuit and Federer a more distant No. 3. "He has a great, great future in front of him". But I really believe that I will not be happier or less happy if that happens.

They have won 51 of the last 59 Grand Slam titles, including the past 12, and there hasn't been a first-time male champ at a major since 2014.

Having won two titles from three major finals this year, Nadal has a chance to finish the year No. 1 for a fifth time. For Medvedev, who won at Cincinnati and also finished runner-up at Montreal and Washington, this summer will be long remembered for his breakthrough. "All this summer is unbelievable for me". Am I going to win or not?

"I have to say, these three guys are legends", Medvedev said of Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer. Tennis is more than Grand Slams.

Mats Wilander, the seven-times Major victor, was positing the opinion after the match that one by-product of this fortnight is that Roger Federer may now be energised to compete hard until he is at least 40. I'm ready for these moments to just be there and try to win the match. But the plot would twist once more as Medvedev got the only break of the set to send it into a decider.

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