Sometimes it is difficult to put into words the dimension of the accomplishments of players like Rafael Nadal that yesterday needed to outperform supersede himself in order to beat an extraordinary young Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev on the big final of the US Open…
Getting closer to making history
By winning the US Open, Rafael Nadal reached the 19 Grand Slam titles and is only 1 away from matching Roger Federer as the most victorious tennis player of all time.
At 33 years of age and with a physical condition that is cause for envy for a lot of youngsters on the ATP circuit, it is completely legitimate that the Spanish tennis player is now aiming to reach and even surpass the Swiss maestro on the list of biggest winners in Grand Slam tournaments.
Rafa Nadal won for the 4th time in his career at Flushing Meadows, even without being the favourite for the bookmakers and, taking into consideration his excellence on clay, I have no doubts that he can definitely set a new record of Grand Slam titles in the panorama of world tennis.
— Peaky Gooner 🔴 (@AvdhutOzil) September 9, 2019
But will Roger Federer be willing to compete with him, or will his advanced age prevent him from still trying to win a couple more titles in order not to allow the Spaniard to surpass him on that list?
Despite not being his favourite tournament, the truth is that the 2020 Australian Open, that will be played in January of next year, will be his first opportunity to equal Roger Federer.
Nadal only won the Australian Open on 1 occasion, but he has already lost some finals there, which means that, not being his ideal surface or tournament, he might still be competitive and, who knows, win the tournament in case a favourable conjugation of aspects takes place.
A final of strong emotions
Considering the inexperience of the youngster Daniil Medvedev – who reached his first Grand Slam final – a lot of people feared that this was a final without a lot of history, where Rafa Nadal would lead from start to finish on a 3-set victory.
In fact, this scenario was very present during more than 2 hours of match when Rafa was leading by 2-0 in sets and a break up already in the 3rd set.
However, and against all odds, the Russian tennis player gave everything he had and managed to return to contention and even make the decision regarding the winner a lot more unpredictable.
With the Russian winning by 7-5 and 6-4 on the 3rd and 4th sets, and benefitting from a good opportunity to break Nadal right at the start of the 5th set, people were starting to wonder if the Spaniard would let the title slip away and suffer a rare defeat in 5 sets after having led by 2-0.
Still, Daniil Medvedev complicated service matches where he had gotten off to good starts and ended up crumbling first in the 5th set, opening the door for Nadal’s title that, still, struggled to close out the match after being 5-2 up, only sealing his victory at 6-4.
In my opinion, neither of these two players reached his full potential in this final. However, the tactical weight of the match was fascinating, with both players alternating their style consistently to confuse the opposition.
Is Medvedev here to stay?
The campaign of the Russian tennis player on this US Open was truly remarkable, not only due to the difficulties he had to go through in certain rounds, but essentially due to the psychological load involved on his encounters from a certain point onwards.
A less brilliant attitude on his part in one of the initial rounds made the crowd become hostile towards the Russian and he needed a great composure and inner strength to deal with all of that.
I’m sure that other tennis player would have lost their mind or imploded upon that much pressure coming from the stands, but the Russian coolness was visible in the way Daniil Medvedev dealt with all of that.
But will he be ready to appear on the finals of a Grand Slam in more occasions?
Looking at his technical, tactical and psychological characteristics, I don’t see why he wouldn’t.
He has a relatively solid forehand and a backhand with great quality, he serves well, and he moves well within the court and, besides that, he has a remarkable psychological strength that was visible once again yesterday.
Recovering from 2 sets down against Rafael Nadal and almost winning in the final of the US Open was a demonstration of huge character from the young Muscovite that is now definitely amongst the best tennis players in the world.
We will see how he will handle being in the spotlight from now on, because after all, he became a Grand Slam finalist and an example of resilience on court for the younger players.