U.S. Open | Unbelievable, outrageous, says Daniil Medvedev

U.S. Open | Unbelievable, outrageous, says Daniil Medvedev

But this one did not come easily. "I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis", Nadal said afterwards.

Daniil is only 23 years old and the way he was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was wonderful.

That is where Nadal and Federer will next convene, although the Spaniard's itinerary for the rest of the year is unconfirmed because he is getting married in October.

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his Men's Singles final match against Daniil Medvedev of Russian Federation on day fourteen of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Never before had Medvedev won a five-set match.

Medvedev insisted he had nothing to lose in his first Grand Slam final after his runs to the final in Washington, Montreal, Cincinnati and at the US Open this summer.

And yet the tension was real.

Nadal tries to keep in proportion the battle with his two rivals for who can win the most Grand Slam events, pointing out that coveting what your neighbour has is not the true path to contentment.

The way this back-and-forth tale was spun, though, it probably was inevitable that Medvedev would break there.

Serving for the match, Nadal was broken when umpire Ali Nili issued Nadal a time violation for his first serve and the Spaniard sent his second long, the crowd booing Nili for his call.

And while Medvedev has injected youthful promise into the proceedings, the record will show that Nadal and Djokovic split the Grand Slam singles titles between them this year. Naturally, he was forced to deal with another heart-in-throat break point, but came up with a stinging forehand that drew a long forehand from Medvedev.

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While the women have served up four different Grand Slam winners this season, the old guard of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic continue to rule the men's game with the "Big Three" having combined to win the last 12 majors.

Nadal hasn't been this close in the "standings" since the "score" was Federer 1, Nadal 0, after Wimbledon in 2003.

At 33, Nadal may have the edge on Roger Federer, the 38-year-old Swiss crashing out of the US Open in the quarter-finals and failing to add to his Grand Slam titles since winning the 2018 Australian Open.

Struggling with the amount of tennis in his legs, taped up here and there, it started as a game of cat and mouse, with Nadal losing his serve first but pegging the Russian back immediately.

Nadal reached 19 titles two years faster than Federer. The journey just took more detours than anyone could have anticipated.

"You guys were pushing me to prolong this match because you want to see more tennis". He alternated serve-and-volley rushes with a penchant for out-hitting Nadal at the baseline. That's a far cry from how Medvedev felt about the crowd earlier in the tournament.

It also preserved the Big Three's logic-defying dominance. "Daniil [Medvedev] is only 23 years old and the way he was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was wonderful".

Medvedev earned them with the way he played.

Or, as he noted during the trophy ceremony, pulling for more bang for the bucks they spent on tickets.

"I have to say, these three guys are legends", Medvedev said of Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer.

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