Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev in an epic five-set match, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 to win the men’s singles title at the 2019 US Open. It was Nadal’s 19th Grand Slam singles title, and fourth US Open title.
With Sunday’s victory, Nadal is just behind Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles, with 19. Novak Djokovic, the youngest of the ‘Big Three’ at 32-years-old, has a total of 16. Nadal also passed Djokovic with a fourth US Open title and is now one shy of Federer’s record five.
“Tennis is more than Grand Slams,” Nadal said after his win. “I feel honored to be part of this battle. All the things that I achieved in my career are much more than what I ever thought and what I ever dreamed.”
Fifth-seeded Medvedev, 23, came up short in the first Grand Slam final appearance of his career. The pair came into the US Open with the most wins on the ATP Tour this year, Medvedev with 50 and Nadal with 46. Although Medvedev didn’t close out the season with the first Grand Slam title of his career, he still played an impressive summer, and was spectacular in the lead up hard court events and throughout his path to the US Open final. In Sunday’s final, Medvedev did what very few players on the ATP Tour can — rattle Nadal. He showed an immense amount of emotional maturity on court, and kept fighting for every single point.
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The last 12 Grand Slam tournaments have been won by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Nadal. The last time a player outside the ‘Big Three’ won a major championship was when Stan Wawrinka defeated Djokovic in four sets at the 2016 US Open. In 2019, Nadal played in three Grand Slam finals, winning two of the three. He lost to Djokovic at this year’s Australian Open, but then extended his own record with a 12th French Open crown in Paris.
Sunday was the first five-set Grand Slam final against an opponent other than Federer or Djokovic, and the 19-time Grand Slam champion believes that Medvedev will have plenty more chances in his career. “The way that he played, is a champion way,” Nadal said of his opponent. “He has a great future. I really believe that he will be able to win Grand Slams. It’s impossible to predict the future. But his career looks very, very well.”
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