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Nadal enjoys US Open triumph after tennis thriller

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September 25, 2019 10:59 am

Nadal enjoys US Open triumph after tennis thriller

Rafael Nadal buried his face in his hands and cried. When the pictures of his 19 Grand Slam victories were shown on the big video cube at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Spanish tennis star could no longer suppress his tears.

Sitting on a chair on the darkened Centre Court, he followed the scenes of his triumphs from 2005 to the present. “I always try to keep my emotions under control. But at that moment it was impossible. That was unforgettable,” Nadal said.

Previously, he had defeated Russian Daniil Medvedev in 4:51 hours with 7:5, 6:3, 5:7, 4:6, 6:4 in a high-class and dramatic final of the US Open, thus celebrating his 19th Grand Slam title. Only the Swiss Roger Federer has once again won one of the four most important tournaments in the world, Novak Djokovic is just behind with 16 titles.

But Nadal didn’t want to know anything about the hunt for records after this epic final in the third-longest final in the history of the Flushing Meadows classic. “I don’t think about that at all. I don’t stand on the training ground every day for that, so I don’t play tennis. I play tennis because I love it,” said the 33-year-old Mallorcan.

How much the 23,771 spectators in the stadium and the millions of fans in front of the screens in New York saw again. With the 23-year-old Medvedev extremely self-confident after an impressive winning streak this summer, Nadal faced one of the most uncomfortable and dangerous opponents in the final. The Russian belongs to the group of up-and-coming players that ATP likes to market as the next generation.

Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas – they will soon replace the three great superstars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. At least that’s the plan of the bosses of the men’s tour. But the big three still have too much fun with what they are doing and are always pushing each other to the limit. “These three are legends,” said Medvedev reverently. “It’s so damn hard to beat them, even just one sentence, sometimes just one game against them.”

The last twelve Grand Slam tournaments the winner was always either Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. Three long years nobody could break into this phalanx. The last champion not to come from the big three was the Swiss Stan Wawrinka at the US Open 2016.

On Sunday his name was almost Medvedev. Because after Nadal was heading relatively unspectacularly for his fourth triumph at the US Open for two and a half sets, the Russian suddenly started to play everything or nothing. “In the third set I thought about what I would say as a loser at the award ceremony,” Medvedev said after the match. “But the fans supported me so loudly that I just kept fighting for every point.”

Out of nowhere, Medvedev took the third run and even forced Nadal into the decisive set. The fans raved, Nadal wobbled. The Spaniard had to accept several penalties because of time play, but exactly from this, he drew energy again for the turn. With the third match point, he made everything clear and then let himself fall to the ground completely exhausted.

Once again, he had fended off the onslaught of one of the young savages. “I am honoured to have been part of this battle,” said Nadal. In the women’s event on Saturday, 19-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu won against 37-year-old Serena Williams. Andreescu is the first player born this millennium to win a Grand Slam tournament.

For the men, however, the changing of the guard will have to wait a little longer, which was certainly quite right for the planners of the award ceremony in New York, as Medvedev suspected. “When I saw the pictures of Rafa’s 19 Grand Slam titles on the big video cube, I thought: If I had won, what would they have shown? If he continues to play like this, there will also be enough material for highlight clips about him in the future. “The future belongs to him. I’m sure he has the chance to win some Grand Slams,” Nadal said.

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