Rafael Nadal didn’t just beat Novak Djokovic in Monday’s US Open final, he set the stage for some historic feats in tennis. Al Dannity explains how last night’s win could spur the Spaniard to even greater heights.
It seems harsh to brush aside Rafael Nadal’s win last night so quickly. The Spaniard claimed his second US Open title with a win in four sets over Novak Djokovic. Incidentally this was the fourth time Djokovic has lost the final at Flushing Meadows. For Nadal however the bar has been set pretty high. When you are as successful as the Spaniard, you talk about legacy as much as titles.
Monday’s win brings Nadal on to 22-0 on hard courts this year. That’s an incredible record and one he could extend much further based on how the calendar breaks. The rest of this season will be played indoors on hard surfaces. There are two more Master Series tournaments, in Shanghai and Paris, and the Tour Finals left amongst top level tournaments. It’s safe to assume Nadal will keep his activity to a minimum and, at most, play these competitions. If he does then the run could extend to 37-0 before the year is out. With Nadal of course we must always be aware of his health. Nadal’s knees take substantial punishment and hard courts cause the most damage. With the US Open won, the Spaniard could well take it easy through the back end of the year. If he does ease up, then he may have his eye on another piece of history.
Having missed this year’s Australian Open with injury, the Spaniard will surely want to make amends in Melbourne early next year. Following his victory over Djokovic, the Australian Open is now the only major he hasn’t won twice. A second victory in Melbourne would do more than provide Nadal with his own special place in the history books. It would finally put to rest any lingering questions about his capabilities away from clay. Such has been Nadal’s success in the spring swing, particularly in the French Open, he has naturally become known as the King of Clay. Having lost just one French Open match in his entire career, it’s natural for observer to see clay courts as the natural home for Nadal. Unlike so many of his countrymen who failed to take care of business on other parts of the tour, Nadal has proven he is an all-time great on every surface. A second victory in Melbourne would enshrine that standing. Then he would have just one target left. Roger Federer’s position as the winner of the most grand slam titles in history.
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