US Open 2019: Nadal emotional after 'crazy' win over Medvedev

By Sports Desk September 08, 2019

An emotional Rafael Nadal labelled his epic US Open final win over Daniil Medvedev a "crazy match" after clinching his 19th grand slam title.

Nadal edged Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in an extraordinary decider that lasted four hours, 49 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, moving within one of Roger Federer's tally of 20 major titles.

The Spanish great gave up a two-sets-to-love lead and then saw Medvedev rally from 5-2 down before he closed out his fourth US Open title.

Nadal said it was an incredible encounter and he paid tribute to Medvedev, who has the most wins on the ATP Tour this year.

"This victory means a lot, especially the way the match became so difficult, so tough," he said in an on-court interview.

"I was able to hold at the end the nerves because the nerves were so high after having the match almost under control, 5-2, 5-4, break point. It has been a crazy match. I'm just emotional."

Nadal added: "It was an amazing final. It seemed that I had more or less the match under control, but honestly first word I have to say is to Daniil.

"His summer is just one of the best summers I ever saw in this sport since I was playing so, everybody saw why he is the number four player in the world already, only at 23 years old, so many congratulations for everything."

A video was played in Arthur Ashe after the final, with each of Nadal's grand slam titles featured in an emotional tribute.

The 33-year-old, who received multiple time violations during the final, had special thanks for the crowd in New York.

"It has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career," Nadal said.

"With that video, with all the support, all of you guys have been just amazing. Normally, I take it for the last thing but today it's going to be the first thing, thank you very, very much everybody in this stadium, [you] have been amazing energy.

"It's a real pleasure and honour to play in front of all of you in this amazing stadium. I think there is not one stadium that is more energetic than this one so many, many thanks for everything."

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  • Nadal would be the greatest but for injury woes - Uncle Toni Nadal would be the greatest but for injury woes - Uncle Toni

    Rafael Nadal would already be established as the greatest men's tennis player in history if injuries had not disrupted his career, according to uncle and former coach Toni Nadal.

    The Spaniard has 19 grand slam titles and is one short of matching Roger Federer's record haul, with the Swiss in his sights heading into the 2020 season.

    Nadal's princely haul includes an unprecedented 12 French Open crowns, as well as four successes at the US Open, including his 2019 triumph when he toppled Daniil Medvedev in a breathtaking final.

    Knee problems in particular, but also a host of further physical issues, have blighted 33-year-old Nadal during his career, and since making his grand slam debut in 2003 he has missed eight majors.

    Federer, in stark contrast, has only been forced to miss two by injury - the French Open and US Open in 2016 - although he also elected to skip Roland Garros in 2017 and 2018 in favour of a rest.

    And Novak Djokovic, the third member of the men's 'Big Three' with 16 slams, has been absent for just the 2017 US Open since his big-stage debut at the 2005 Australian Open.

    "For the moment, the best in history I do not know if is Federer, Rod Laver… it is very difficult to determine who is the best in history," Toni Nadal told Omnisport.

    "I do not like excuses and I do not want to make them. If my grandmother had two wheels, it would be a bicycle…

    "I believe that if Rafael wouldn't have had so many injuries, probably today he would be the best tennis player in history. He had the injuries and there is nothing more to say.

    "Anyway, let's wait until the end, when everybody has finished their careers, we will say who is the best one, but it is always difficult to determine who is the best.

    "I do not know which aspects of the games of statistics you take into account, if it is one or another. It won't be much difference, I believe, when Federer, Djokovic and Nadal finish their careers… and Rod Laver, it won't be much difference."

    Toni Nadal saluted his nephew for another scintillating season, in which he landed slams in Paris and New York and finished the year as world number one.

    It hardly mattered that he fell short at the ATP Finals, edged out in the group stage.

    "Back in 2005, it was unthinkable that he would be number one of the world again in 2019," said Toni Nadal.

    "I think that Rafael has made efforts all his life to keep being on the top and at the end he has had this reward.

    "When things don't go well he has this capacity to continue. But after that, I think that he has a capacity to generate great shots in bad postures, if we talk about technical aspects. On this matter I believe that he is the best in the world. He is a guy that on a position of instability, he can make even better shots."

    Asked to similarly pick out the main virtues of Federer and Djokovic, the man popularly known as 'Uncle Toni' added: "Federer: his elegance above all. But elegance based on effectivity, not only elegance and little effectivity. Elegance and great effectivity.

    "And from Djokovic, his extraordinary capacity of attack and defence and his mobility: it is easy from him to be in the right place, he is a very complete player. I believe that the three of them have similar capacities."

  • Tsitsipas 'living the dream' after beating Federer at ATP Finals Tsitsipas 'living the dream' after beating Federer at ATP Finals

    Stefanos Tsitsipas described himself as "living the dream" after knocking out Roger Federer to book an ATP Finals showpiece against Dominic Thiem.

    Greek star Tsitsipas ousted Federer 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final of the season-ending event to reach the biggest final of his career.

    Tsitsipas has had an up-and-down year which started with a run to the last four of the Australian Open and was followed by a mid-season slump, but he appears to be keeping his best until last.

    The 21-year-old saved 11 of Federer's 12 break points on Saturday and explained beating the 20-time grand slam champion, who he watched winning major tournaments growing up, was difficult to comprehend.

    "I grew up watching Roger here at the ATP Finals and Wimbledon and other finals," said Tsitsipas, who also beat Federer in the last 16 of the Australian Open.

    "I wished one day I could face him and now I'm here living the dream.

    "I remember myself being one of the kids here watching the event and I could never picture myself here. But it can happen.

    "This victory is probably one of my best moments of the season. These are the moments I live for.

    "This does feel, in a way, like a grand slam, because all eyes are here. Everyone knows this event. Everyone who watches tennis knows what the ATP Finals are.

    "For me, it's a great new start, great new beginning to be here, playing in the Finals. It's really very difficult to be in that position I am in right now and it counts a lot."

    Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, was in attendance for the match and greeted Tsitsipas afterwards, highlighting the magnitude of his triumph.

    "I'm really glad I played well, stayed calm," Tsitsipas said.

    "It's a great moment not just for me, for everyone else, my country, my team. I'm proud of myself, how hard I fought, how concentrated I stayed in the break points. 

    "I didn't crack under pressure. I was very composed and very mature in my decisions."

    Tsitsipas and Thiem have met on six occasions over the last two years.

    Thiem won four of those, including the most recent clash last month, which was a three-set battle in the China Open final.

  • Federer rues missed chances and 'pretty bad' mistakes after ATP Finals exit Federer rues missed chances and 'pretty bad' mistakes after ATP Finals exit

    Roger Federer conceded he had let chances slip through his fingers and made "pretty bad" mistakes as he crashed out of the ATP Finals with defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    The Swiss star went down 6-3 6-4 in London, taking only one of his 12 break-point opportunities to lose the semi-final in straight sets just two days on from a near-faultless victory over Novak Djokovic.

    It means he ends the year having not won any of the four grand slams or the season-ending event, with Sunday's final to be contested by Dominic Thiem and Tsitsipas.

    Federer turns 39 in 2020 but, as he reflected on a year that saw him squander two championship points against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, he is optimistic he will have plenty more opportunities to win top tournaments.

    "No doubt I had my chances," Federer – who hit 26 unforced errors including two wayward smashes in his opening service game – said after his defeat, which leaves him without an ATP Finals title since 2011. 

    "The break points were part of it. I had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad.

    "Getting broken and missing two smashes in one game – that hasn't happened in a long, long time or ever, so that was tough.

    "At this level, you just can't have it happen, so that was pretty disappointing."

    Of his 2020 hopes, Federer said: "I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year and then I will create some chances. 

    "[I have] Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team and get the balance right with everything that's happening in my life."

    Federer had produced a fine display to see off Djokovic in the round-robin stage but conceded he cannot afford to let his level drop when big matches and important moments arrive in quick succession.

    He added: "When the matches come, it's not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago, where you're just going to play very good day in, day out. 

    "Maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen. Maybe that's what it felt like, just things were complicated. 

    "But I've got to maybe do even a better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there. They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells [in a final defeat to Thiem] or Wimbledon.

    "That can change an entire season around, the confidence, the flow of things."

    Federer retained an optimistic outlook going into another season on the ATP Tour, adding: "I'm happy [with] how I played this season. I thought I played some consistent, solid tennis and I'm extremely excited for next season."

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