The Spaniard won his 13th Grand Slam last night after beating Novak Djokovic 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 at Flushing Meadows in New York. Nadal is now third in the all-time list with Roger Federer leading on 17.
The battle was a memorable event for the neutrals with lung busting, big-hitting which showcased the skill, technique and power of both athletes. There were a host of brutal rallies,one of which was fought out over 54 shots – the longest in the tournament by 20 shots.
After missing last year’s tournament due to a knee-injury that kept him out for seven months, Nadal is no poised to regain his number one ranking.
“Having this success is amazing,” he said. “I never expected it. That’s life and I’m lucky to have what I’m having.
“I really love the competition, I really love the sport. All my career I dreamed to be involved in matches like today. I enjoy every moment.
“These things are not forever. In a few years I won’t have this chance. I try my best, I have passion and that’s all I can do.”
With a host of celebrities –including Sean Connery, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake – looking on, Nadal took the first set with relative ease in 42 minutes, djokivic had 15 unforced errors.
The Serb played some quality tennis in the second set and broke for 4-2 after a 54-shot rally. This was only the second time Nadal had dropped his serve in the entire tournament and he came back with an immediate response, getting himself back to 3-4, before Djokovic broke again for 5-3 on a 28-shot exchange.
Djokovic eventually took the 58 minute set with a down the line winner.
He broke to love in the opening game of the third and had a point for a double break in the third before Nadal held on to prevent dropping his serve for the fourth game in a row.
The world No 2 capitalized on his momentum to level the game at 3-3, he then saved three break points to go ahead 5-4, Djokovic tried to recover with a mean forehand which he could only slap long as Nadal claimed the third set.
In the fourth set, Nadal fought off two break points and broke a tired Djokovic with a collection of aggressive forehands.
He backed it up for 3-0 and repeated it against a broken-spirited Djokovic for 5-1.
Nadal went on to victory after three hours and twenty one minutes, Djokovic hit a return in the net.
“It’s very emotional. All my team knows what this means to me,” said Nadal.