Rafael Nadal struggled, but still defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 on Sunday in the final of the US Open.
The Spaniard needed nearly five hours to achieve his ends. His panting duel against the tough Russian lasted four hours and 50 minutes of play, just four minutes from the longest game record in New York’s tournament history.
The 33-year-old put his hand on a 19th Grand Slam title, coming close to one of the record held by long-time rival Roger Federer.
Highlights of the Rafael Nadal Win
The world number 2 also became the equal of John McEnroe at Flushing Meadows with his four titles, to one of the record of the modern era co-starring Federer, Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors.
“Four titles here are very important to me, especially considering the difficulty I had to win tonight,” said Nadal after wiping tears as he waited for the trophy ceremony.
“It was a crazy game when I was in control,” he added, before making an appointment with the public “next year”.
As for his opponent who gave him so much trouble, “we saw why he is already 4th world at 23 years,” said Nadal, while Medvedev will officially move from 5th to 4th place ATP Monday when the new ranking will be released.
“He will have other opportunities to win here, that’s for sure, so good luck!” He told Medvedev.
The Russian began by paying tribute to the winner: “19 Grand Slam titles are unbelievable. It’s so hard to play against you. What you did for tennis, those hundreds of millions of kids who look at you and make you want to play tennis … “
“In the 3rd set, in my head I began to wonder what I could do as speech after a quick defeat in three sets … and then I played the points one by one and that’s went much further, “he said.
Then, he spoke to the public who, after whistling for two games for his bad behavior in the second round, the very loudly encouraged during the final and long applauded on the podium.
“This time, I say without irony: it is thanks to your energy that I managed this match. It’s thanks to your support for the 3rd set, because you wanted the match to last a bit longer, that I could go further. You booed me because I said and did things wrong, but you can change and I love you! “, He said with immense acclaim.
Nadal has an exceptional season despite a debut undermined by injuries. The end of summer approaching, he has already won two Grand Slam titles, at Roland Garros and the US Open, lost a final at the Australian Open and a semifinal at Wimbledon, in addition to winning two Masters 1000, in Rome and Montreal.
At the age of 23, Medvedev will be able to console himself in a few days when he looks cold at what he has achieved this season and especially this summer.
Victories in Sofia, final in Washington, final in Montreal, victory in Cincinnati and again final at Flushing Meadows: 36th world a year ago, he will be officially 4th at the publication of the ranking of the ATP, Monday.
And he is already qualified, alongside Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, for the London Masters which will bring together the eight best players of the season.
This magnificent summer course may have cost him the last necessary forces Sunday night.