Flushing Meadows, NY – Lucky Thirteen.
Thankfully Rafa Nadal doesn’t have Triskaidekaphobia or maybe he would have lost his US Open Final to Novak Djokovic.
But Nadal prevailed in four sets 6‑2, 3‑6, 6‑4, 6‑1, proving once again, he’s the best player in the world.
And ever so popular too as Nadal absorbed the love of the Arthur Ashe crowd.
” The only thing I can say is I try to be fair” he said. “I try to be correct with everybody. I try to be friendly with everybody. That’s all, no?
“I think on court I am a positive player. I am not a negative player. I try my best in every moment. Even the things are not going well or are going well, I am not never very sad or, you know, doing a negative attitude on court.
“Outside of the court I try to sign everybody. I try to make the photos. I act like a normal person.”
In his prime at 27 and no signs of slowing, Roger Federer’s record of 17 slams just may be in jeopardy. The Swiss Master is slowing down and may not have another one in him, while Nadal just seems to get better and better.
He was once considered a clay court specialist and with eight Roland Garros titles, that skill continues. But now he best maybe the best hard court player in the world. And outside of a set in a half, Djokovic didn’t belong on the same court.
Now, after today, the myth may be dispelled.
Said Nadal: “Because I won that much on clay seems like other things are less, but I was able to play five finals in Wimbledon, I think. Five? Yeah. I was able to play three finals in the US Open. I was able to play two finals in Australian Open to win. I don’t know, three Indian Wells, something like this, three Canadian Open.”
But it wasn’t easy. A 54 shot point in the third – eventually won by Djokovic and then at 4-4 and down 0-40, Nadal was able to prevail and end the Serbian’s run.
“I really don’t know what’s going on in that moment,” Nadal said. “Just was a celebration. Very important point win the third set. After all what happened in that third set, was an amazing victory of that set. I make the celebration, but I really don’t have emotions in that moment.
“Then you finish the celebration. You are walking to the chair and say, Okay, I won the third. I need to be focused for the beginning of the fourth, because I am serving against the wind and the break is possible for him. I need to save that game.”
It’s moments like that, which make tennis the sport it is. You can criticize the Open’s first week with the night blowouts on Ashe and even the unfairly criticize the timing of the Monday Final – something that Djokovic was off in doing – but when the Open closes, what a whale of a conclusion.
And that makes two now for Nadal in Flushing to go with two Wimbledons, one at Melbourne, and of course, the eight in Paris.
With him being the best player in the world, you have to think there will be at least four more in there.
Look out Roger, Rafa is coming to get you.