The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander moved one shy of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record 20 Grand Slam triumphs and with it became the second-oldest New York champion in the Open era after Ken Rosewall in 1970 at age 35.
Delivering one of his most spectacular major final performances, Rafael Nadal captured his 19th career Grand Slam title Sunday by winning his fourth US Open against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.
The match got off to an intriguing start when Nadal received a warning for slow play in the very first game.
In his next game, Nadal gave away an early break when a couple of forehands skewed off his racket frame and failed even to reach the net. Had it been any other player and the errors may have increased, but not Nadal who is the best on the tour at preventing things to spin out of his control. Even losing the third and fourth set in what seemed like a definitive come-back from the young Russian, Rafael was there to stamp his name once more in the sport’s history. 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.
Nadal always falls down backwards after winning a major title, but this time he lay there for so long – overcome by exhaustion and relief – leaving one wondering if perhaps CPR was needed.
“It is one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career, with that video and all of the support,” said Nadal at the presentation ceremony. “This victory means a lot, especially the way the match became so difficult and tough.”
World number two Nadal took the top prize of $3.85 million at Arthur Ashe Stadium to add to his US Open trophy haul from 2010, 2013 and 2017. And second Slam title of the year, after taking his 12th French Open crown in June.