By Jake Davies
- Rafael Nadal  defeats Kevin Anderson  6-3, 6-3, 6-4
- Nadal talks about the passion that still drives him into his 30’s
NEW YORK, USA – Rafael Nadal completed a fantastic 2017 season by winning his second Grand Slam title of the season, putting him just three major victories away from Roger Federer, who holds the record for most major wins.
Breaking down the key moments of the final
The opening set was a lot more difficult than the scoreline dictates. Rafael Nadal had many break points, five in total, before he got his breakthrough in the seventh game, but Kevin Anderson expended a lot of energy on his own serve at the beginning of the match. Nadal would go on to break again to win the set 6-3, but it took the best part of an hour to get the job done. But how did the now 16-time major winner seal the 2017 US Open title? There were many key moments that enabled Nadal to display some of his most awesome and blistering tennis in a mostly comfortable three sets victory.
As well as being unmoved on his own serve, Nadal also expressed himself in the forecourt. People often talk about his incredible defence from the baseline and his work and craft around the net gets overlooked by many. He was 16 for 16 at the net during Sunday’s US Open final as he picked the perfect and right moments to come forward and showed no mercy when finishing the points with those volleys.
Nadal’s baseline game remained unbreakable. The talk before the match was whether Anderson could break through Nadal from the back of the court with his power game, but Nadal did not give Anderson the room to breath or to get used to the circumstances of being in a first major final. Nadal gave nothing away in any of the three-sets against the South African as he romped through the next two sets 6-3 and 6-4 to edge closer to Roger Federer’s 19 major title wins.
Nadal’s 3rd US Open success is a special one
The Roland-Garros win, where Nadal claimed his tenth crown without dropping a single set, was a great moment, but turning a good season into a great season will please Nadal enormously as the Grand Slam season draws to a close. It had been three long years since Nadal had won a title on a hardcourt, having lost eight finals in a row on this surface during that period. But what is the secret behind the great champion still producing this level of tennis into the later years of his career after being written off by so many in the times of distress and the times of doubt? Nadal explained this in his post-final press conference:
“I think I did the right work. I believed on the work, on the diary work, all the time. I still believe there are things to improve. And I wake up every morning with a passion to go on court and try to improve things and probably that is why I still have chances to compete in this sport and to do it well. That’s all.”
Winning two majors and making three Grand Slam finals in a single season would be a special accomplishment and accolade for most players, but what does this serious resurgence in 2017 mean to the man that has already accomplished so much over his illustrious career?
” It is a very special year, no? A couple of years without winning slams and a couple of years with problems. 2016, 2014, have been years that I’ve had injuries and tough ones in the middle of the season. So that’s impossible to recover in the same year.”
“After a couple of years without competing at this very high, high level. I’m very happy to be back. It’s a very emotional moment for you. As I said before, I just can say thanks to the people that helps me every day. I have a great team and a great family that supports me and believes in me. That’s a great help.”
Nadal was asked what this trophy meant in terms of chasing down Federer’s tally of 19 singles majors, but the Spaniard offered some fresh perspective on what he feels this win means in the present and in the future.
“I’m very happy with all the things that are happening to me. Winning this title again I have this trophy with me. It is so important winning on hardcourt again. That is a lot of positive energy for me. Being healthy, you see everything more possible, no? With injuries, everything seems impossible.”
“I still want to compete and still feel the nerves every time that I go on court, While that keeps happening, I will be here.”
“When some day arrives where I don’t feel the nerves or that extra passion for the game that I feel, it will be the day to say, ‘OK, I do another thing.”
Nadal is next scheduled to play in Beijing, in October
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