Rafael Nadal plants himself with the all-time greats of tennis
By Greg Hernandez
HollywoodNews.com: Determined Rafael Nadal won his first US Open title tonight and by doing so, firmly planted himself among the all-time greats of tennis.
Nadal, the reigning Wimbledon and French Open champion, beat back the challenge of Novak Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in a thrilling rain-delayed match that lasted 3 hours and 43 minutes. The world’s number one player collapsed to the ground in joy after match point and then embraced his opponent at the net.
The landmark victory gave Nadal the one major title that had alluded him and he became only the seventh man in history to win all four of the sport’s grand slam crowns. He is also one of only two men and one of three players overall to win all four and the Olympic Gold Medal. (The others are Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf).
Nadal, only 24, has also won five French Opens, two Wimbledons and an Australian Open for a total of 9 majors. His win moved him one ahead on the all-time list of Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl. His archrival Roger Federer is the all-time leader with 16 majors.
You’ve gotta feel for Novak who had managed to beat five-time champion Federer in the semifinals on Saturday surviving two match points along the way.
Here’s a guy with all kinds of talent whose career happens to be taking place during the era of Nadal and Federer. With those two winning almost all of the grand slam championships since 2004, there isn’t a whole lot left over for anyone else.
But Novak, also the US Open runner-up in 2007, is only 23 and I feel quite certain that he will add another major or two (or maybe several more) to the Australian Open he won in 2008.
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