Celebrating Nadal's Epicness

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
After a relatively smooth run to the final, Rafael Nadal won the 2019 US Open in dramatic fashion on Sunday night, edging Daniil Medvedev in an absolute epic for the title, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.

Here are 19 things Nadal achieved in Flushing Meadows this year:

1. He won the 19th Grand Slam title of his career. The Spaniard now has one Australian Open (2009), 12 French Opens (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019), two Wimbledons (2008 and 2010) and four US Opens (2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019).

2. He’s now just one behind Federer. Roger Federer still holds the all-time men’s record for most Grand Slam titles at 20, but with 19, Nadal’s just one behind. The last time he was just one behind Federer’s majors was over 15 years ago, when the Swiss had one major and the Spaniard had none.

3. He’s closing in on Federer’s Grand Slam finals record, too. Federer still holds the all-time men’s record for most Grand Slam finals at 31, but Nadal’s now at 27. The gap was 30-24 to start the year.

4. He improved to 19-8 in Grand Slam finals. Broken down by Grand Slam that’s 1-4 in Australian Open finals, 12-0 in French Open finals, 2-3 in Wimbledon finals and now 4-1 in US Open finals.

5. He won his fourth US Open title. He’s just the fifth man in the Open Era to win four or more US Opens. Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Federer won five each, while John McEnroe won four.

6. He became the second-oldest man in the Open Era to win the US Open. At age 33, Nadal’s the second-oldest man in the Open Era to win the US Open after Ken Rosewall, who won it at 35 in 1970.


Getty Images

7. He’s the first man in the Open Era to win five Grand Slam titles after turning 30. By winning the 2017 French Open, 2017 US Open, 2018 French Open, 2019 French Open and 2019 US Open, Nadal is the only man in the Open Era who’s won five or more Grand Slam titles after turning 30.

Only one woman in the Open Era has done it - Serena Williams has won 10 since turning 30.

8. He’s now 209-1 at Grand Slams after he wins the first two sets. He almost let it slip - after winning the first two sets and going up a break in the third, he watched on as Medvedev broke back and took the third and fourth set, even getting to break point early in the fifth - but Nadal closed it out.

His only loss at a major from two sets up remains his loss to Fabio Fognini at the 2015 US Open.

9. It was the longest Grand Slam final he’s ever won. The longest Grand Slam final Nadal had ever won beforehand, by time, was his victory over Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final, which lasted 4:48. His win over Medvedev in the 2019 US Open final was just three minutes longer at 4:51.

10. He’s now won 27 of his last 28 matches. Since mid-May Nadal’s won four of the five tournaments he’s played, his only loss coming to Federer in a tight four-setter in the semifinals of Wimbledon.

11. He’s now 47-6 on the year. He’s won the second-most tour-level matches of any man or woman this year. Only the man he beat in the US Open final - Medvedev - has more, going 50-17 in 2019.

12. He’s now on a 20-match winning streak against Russians. His last loss to a Russian came more than eight years ago in January 2011, falling to Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals of Doha.

13. This is the fifth time he’s won multiple majors in a season. He won two in 2008, three in 2010, two in 2013, two in 2017 and now two in 2019. Only two other men in the Open Era have done that five or more times - Federer, who’s done it six times, and Novak Djokovic, who’s done it five times.


Getty Images

14. He’s now just 640 points behind Djokovic on the rankings. Going into the US Open, No. 1 Djokovic had a cushion of 3,740 points over No. 2 Nadal - but that’s now down to just 640 points. Even more daunting is that Djokovic has 2,600 points to defend the rest of the year. Nadal: zero.

15. He’s now almost 2,000 points ahead of Djokovic on the year-to-date standings. Nadal and Djokovic were the top two on the Race To London going into the US Open, but the gap was only 140 points (7,225 to 7,085). Nadal has now widened the gap to 1,960 points (9,225 to 7,265).

After doing it in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017, could Nadal be on track for a fifth year-end No. 1 finish?

16. He’s spending his 750th straight week in the Top 10 this week. His place in the Top 10 was never in danger at the US Open, but it’s worth noting the longest active streak in the Top 10 hitting another milestone. It’s the second-longest streak ever - Connors had 789 straight weeks from 1973 to 1988.

17. The Big Three have now won the last 12 Grand Slams. They’ve swept the last three seasons of majors, with Federer winning three of the 12, Djokovic winning four and Nadal winning five.

18. The Big Three have now won 51 of the last 59 Grand Slams. Starting with the 2005 French Open, they’ve won all but eight majors. Only four other men have broken through: Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have won three each, while Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic have won one each.

19. He extended the winning streak of 30-somethings at majors to 13. Nadal winning the 2019 US Open makes it 13 straight majors with a champion in their 30s. The streak began with Wawrinka’s triumph at the 2016 US Open, followed by 12 straight majors from Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.


 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
Chennai 2008 vs. Youzhny hehe

One of my favorite Nadal stats is his all-surface winning streak of 32 matches in 2008. It's not as long as some other impressive streaks but it makes up for it by consisting of clay, grass, and hard court tournaments. The contents of the run are as follows (includes noteworthy opponents):

Hamburg Masters (clay): Beat Djokovic, Murray, and Federer
French Open (clay): Beat Djokovic and Federer
Queens Club (grass): Beat Djokovic and Roddick
Wimbledon (grass): Beat Federer and Murray
Rogers Cup (hard): Beat Murray
Cincinnati (hard): Made it to the semifinals where Djokovic snapped his streak in two sets

I guess you could argue that Federer and Djokovic weren't at their best, but that doesn't invalidate this streak because he beat them both multiple times during this period.
 

Imperator

Professional
15. He’s now almost 2,000 points ahead of Djokovic on the year-to-date standings. Nadal and Djokovic were the top two on the Race To London going into the US Open, but the gap was only 140 points (7,225 to 7,085). Nadal has now widened the gap to 1,960 points (9,225 to 7,265).

After doing it in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017, could Nadal be on track for a fifth year-end No. 1 finish?
 

Start da Game

Professional
rafa was clay god, undefeated grass GOATer and a sensational olympian in 2008......easily my favourite rafa year/moments.......

2013 was simply incredible for his fighting talent and his ability to find an answer to any challenge in tennis......a close second moment behind 2008.......

vamooooooooos !
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
New Post USO Interview w Nadal in Mallorca:


"
Time catches up with everyone. Even the greatest of athletes are not immune to its effects. Rafael Nadal is fully aware of the principles of aging, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing everything in his power to stave off its effects and delay the coronation of the next generation of tennis stars. The 33-year-old has thrived at the highest level on the ATP Tour for 15 seasons, racking up 19 Grand Slam trophies and achieving numerous milestones along the way.
Despite his wide-ranging success, the Spaniard is quick to point out that every new achievement is unique and special. No. 2 in the ATP Rankings, Nadal works hard to ensure he still performs at his best every time he competes, just as he did to capture his latest crown: a fourth US Open title on Sunday. He currently trails only Roger Federer (20) in major titles.
Now back in Mallorca and resting after his epic five-set battle against Daniil Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York just a few days earlier, Nadal spoke with ATPTour.com at a small media gathering to discuss his victory at Flushing Meadows, the recovery process, his plans for the rest of the year and his state of mind.

You became emotional after watching highlights of your US Open victory.
You have to understand the circumstances. The last three hours were especially hard for me; I had the match practically won. Thinking back, I realise how things suddenly took a turn [in Medvedev’s favour] and how quickly matters spun out of my control.
The situation reached a point so critical, I went from on the cusp of winning to on the verge of losing. Up until that third set, I was on course to win, but he took command from that point on. I realise not only how much we both fought, but what we put ourselves through, mentally and physically, before he showed a moment of weakness and I broke through.
Over the past several weeks, you’ve stated on several occasions that you’re “getting older”. Does that mean you “feel” older?
No, I don't feel any older than my age! I feel what I am. I’m 33 years old. I've always thought that I don't know when my last victory will come. But I feel as though I’m going through a solid phase in my career.
I’m simply aware as the years go on and I get older, I can’t lose sight of the reality of the situation. You must take better care of yourself, make wiser decisions and while you were able to play a lot more matches when you were younger, it’s important to be more selective as you get older. You must be calculating and put a lot of thought into what’s going to be most beneficial to extend your career.

You May Also Like: Nadal Ties Federer & Djokovic Atop 'Big Titles' Leaderboard

On Sunday, you became the first player in the Open Era to win five Grand Slam titles after turning 30. Not too long ago, many experts of the sport were saying that wasn’t a realistic feat.
My motivation has never been to disprove what others say about me or to demonstrate that I can do things others can't. I stay away from all of that, not just in tennis but in my daily life as well. Ambition and motivation must be driven from the inside, not by any outside forces. I surround myself with positive energy and operate at the best of my abilities.
Apart from what others felt, did you have your own doubts?
Just as many have doubted that I could play on for so many years, I’ve had and will always have my own doubts. But here I am. It’s something I take day by day, and I’m satisfied with this approach. Above all, if my body allows me to train at a high level on a daily basis, I’ll continue to play as I’m still passionate about tennis. I enjoy setting goals and I relish the competition.
Coach Carlos Moya said after the final that, in terms of emotion and significance, this was the most significant victory since he joined your team. Would you also rate it among your best matches?
I haven’t watched the match again! (Laughs) I’ve only played through it and, without seeing it, it’s hard to comment on that. When you’re out there in the heat of the moment, you’re nervous and it’s impossible to process anything but what you have to do to win. The final definitely had all the ingredients necessary for a compelling, remarkable match that won’t be forgotten anytime soon, but I’d have to watch it from start to finish in order to give you my verdict as to where it stands among my best matches.
You haven’t discussed the possibility of reclaiming the No. 1 ATP Ranking, despite a brilliant season thus far. Instead, you maintain the goal is to be competitive for as long as possible.
Being competitive is one of my biggest motivators and I always aspire to be my best. My goal is to give myself the best possible options to compete at the highest level in the biggest tournaments for as long as possible. In order to achieve this goal, I’ve obviously been constraining myself to a less busy calendar. This year I’ve played only 11 events, and I don't know how many I’ll have entered by the end of the year. But as you can tell, the calendar is shrinking, and that’s also partly due to the solid results I’ve obtained.
You’ve reached at least 10 semi-finals in 11 tournaments this year, capturing four titles (Rome, Roland Garros, Montreal, US Open). What’s been the most satisfying moment of the season so far?
Without any doubt, it’s the way I rebounded after Barcelona [Nadal reached the semi-finals at Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell before losing to Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4]. I struggled the week before at Monte-Carlo as well and wasn’t performing at my best going into Godo [Barcelona]. In the end, that's what leaves me most satisfied. I’m happy with the way I bounced back mentally from those events.

Even though regaining the No. 1 spot is not an objective, you’re currently the leader in the ATP Race To London.
It’s true that obtaining the No. 1 ATP Ranking is not the main goal, nor has it ever been my ultimate pursuit. Obviously, becoming No. 1 would be very gratifying, but I can’t afford to let that be my top priority at this point in my career. I can’t waste time or energy trying to be No. 1; I need those resources to train and prepare to compete at my best on the weeks I step on the court.
If becoming the top player in the world is a result of that, then I’ll feel rewarded. If I don’t end the year as No. 1, it will still have been a very fulfilling year. I’ve played well on a consistent basis and to me, that’s satisfying.
You’ve insisted on restraining yourself from competing too frequently throughout the season. You ended your title run at Flushing Meadows in a state of exhaustion. What lies ahead for the rest of the year?
I'm tired. The truth is that I still haven’t fully recovered. I came home and we have already done a little recovery. I’m regaining my strength little by little. It’s too early to hash out plans, because since that match, I haven’t had a chance to discuss matters with my team. This week we will have that conversation, but apart from this, I will also have to wait a few days to see how my body heals. One thing I do have is Laver Cup 2019 marked on my calendar.
What are you doing specifically to recover both physically and mentally after such a grueling affair?
Mental recovery is done by resting! (Laughs) It's not just about the last match; my body has been put through a lot of stress the past few weeks. You’re competing in one of the most important tournaments of the year and it requires a lot from your body on a daily basis.
When you finish, after such a dramatic final, the physical and mental effects are consequential. You have to recover steadily by taking all the necessary steps to ensure proper recuperation. As for the mind, I just need to rest and adjust my schedule accordingly to one that I feel will wield the best results and won’t hinder my recovery.
Are you doing anything differently this time around in terms of physical recovery?
No, nothing different. Preparations for my return have been similar to what I’ve been doing as of late following similar demanding tournaments like the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. I’m getting proper rest. The only thing that’s changed in recent times is that I spend more time training at home [in Manacor, Mallorca, Spain] and then take it up a notch when I arrive [on location] ahead of a tournament.



 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
Great thread.

The fact he never dropped out of top 10 despite so many long injury breaks is astounding. It shows how very efficient he is in the times when he does play.
 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
A new favourite moment for me is when Rafa was watching that video of his major victories at the US Open trophy presentation.

I'm not sure if he knew he could be seen because they put the lights down in the stadium, and he was crying watching the vision.

Up until that point I was doing fine, and had been more "electrified" rather than emotional during the final, but at that point I lost it lol.

I think my favourite EVER moment now is the first point of the first Fedal match at RG, when Rafa thundered that FH DTL passing shot on the dead run.

Just the sheer shock of it, and the realization that this guy was going to change the game, and show us a type of expressive tennis that hadn't really been seen before.
 

DSH

Hall of Fame
?

Stan helped Rafa stay in the top 10?

That could only be possible if Stan decided to share some of his points with Nadal.
Nadal will surpass the record of consecutive weeks in the top 10 of Jimmy Connors at the end of May next year.

The record is partially owed to Federer, who in July 2015 beat Simon in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
If the Frenchman had passed the round, the Spaniard would have left that select group.

Nadal will make history in 2020 and this will be one of the reasons.
:cool:
 

Sabrina

Rookie
Nadal will surpass the record of consecutive weeks in the top 10 of Jimmy Connors at the end of May next year.

The record is partially owed to Federer, who in July 2015 beat Simon in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
If the Frenchman had passed the round, the Spaniard would have left that select group.

Nadal will make history in 2020 and this will be one of the reasons.
:cool:
What about Wawrinka? What did he do in 2015 to keep Nadal inside the top 10?

Thank you.
 

alexio88

Hall of Fame
Beat Tsonga in RG SF. Jo would've pushed Nadal out of top 10 had he made the final, but then Djokovic would've won the title and possibly CYGS, so thanks to Stan the helpful man.
вавринка хуявринка сделал свое дело, может смело уходить
 

UnderratedSlam

Hall of Fame
Nadal will surpass the record of consecutive weeks in the top 10 of Jimmy Connors at the end of May next year.

The record is partially owed to Federer, who in July 2015 beat Simon in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
If the Frenchman had passed the round, the Spaniard would have left that select group.

Nadal will make history in 2020 and this will be one of the reasons.
:cool:
Can't say I quite understood this, especially since it doesn't mention Stan, but regarding Nadal being no 1 all the way till May, that is far from certain. He has far less points to defend, true, but if Novak recovers quickly from the injury it will be a close race week-in and week-out. They'll split the pie making it easier for RF to keep his precious record.
 

DSH

Hall of Fame
Can't say I quite understood this, especially since it doesn't mention Stan, but regarding Nadal being no 1 all the way till May, that is far from certain. He has far less points to defend, true, but if Novak recovers quickly from the injury it will be a close race week-in and week-out. They'll split the pie making it easier for RF to keep his precious record.

I didn't remember that Wawrinka "saved" Nadal out of the top 10.
Thanks, Stan!

As you can tell, I am strictly talking about the record of consecutive weeks as top 10 that Connors still has.
That record will belong to Nadal, at the end of May next year. After Rome and before the start of RG, the Spaniard will make history as the tennis player with more consecutive weeks in that select group. He will surpass the 800 consecutive weeks as top 10, something never seen before, and if he plays a good level until RG 2022, Bull could even reach 900 weeks in that privileged place.

Number 1 is another story, "UnderratedSlam", and I never mentioned it in my post.
:)
 
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