US Open Tennis 2013: Title Demonstrates Why Rafael Nadal Is One of Greatest Ever
Bow down at the dominance of Rafael Nadal.
The 27-year-old dispatched Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the final of the 2013 US Open. It was one of the closer one-sided matches you're going to see between the top two seeds in the world.
The Djoker was never completely out of the match until the end, but he was also never really in control. Even when he had three break points at 4-4 in the third set, Nadal was able to pull through. The Spanish was game almost every time Djokovic had the chance to turn the match around.
It's Nadal's second US Open title and 13th Grand Slam title. That puts him just one back of Pete Sampras and five back of Roger Federer. By the time he retires, there's a very good chance that he will have the most Grand Slams of any men's player ever.
In terms of just titles, this is the 60th of Nadal's career, which is good enough for eighth all time (h/t ESPN Stats and Info).
Rafael Nadal: 60th singles title (tied with Andre Agassi for 8th most all-time)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 10, 2013
The way that Nadal book-ended this match was stunning. In the first and last sets, he was the irresistible force and omnipotent. It takes a lot for the No. 2 player in the world to look unsure of himself, but that's exactly what was happening to Djokovic.
The win underlined the fact that Nadal is one of the greatest players of his generation and among the best men's players of all time.
When it comes to finals, he's got a fantastic record (h/t tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg).
With that result, Nadal's record in Grand Slam finals improves to 13-5, and Djokovic's worsens to 6-6. #usopen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 10, 2013
In addition, Nadal has a winning record against every top 1,000 player he's faced, save Nikolay Davydenko (h/t Sports Illustrated's Bryan Armen Graham).
Rafael Nadal has a winning record vs. every player he's faced more than once in the current top 1,000. Only exception is Davydenko (1-3).— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) September 10, 2013
Every time there has been a road block in Nadal's way, he's blasted through it in a way that would make the Kool-Aid Man blush—not that you could see the Kool-Aid Man blush.
Where does Nadal rank all time?
He can only win on clay you say? Oh, no problem, Nadal has transformed his game in order to be successful on all surfaces. He's got the career Grand Slam. He also knocked off an in-his-prime Roger Federer at Fed's fortress—the All England Club.
His knees won't hold up you say? That's nothing a little time off won't help. Nadal came back after the Australian Open and is playing some of the best tennis of his career.
His combination of power, stamina and placement is unmatched with any player of past or present. It's not fair to compare eras, as perhaps Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg would all be Nadal's physical equal if they had the same kind of training techniques and knowledge of exercise science at their disposal.
It's enough to just say that Nadal is in that hallowed group of the greatest players ever. Now let's look to 2014 to see if he can complete that improbable Grand Slam.
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