NEW YORK, NY, USA - Rafael Nadal’s career was already legendary, but it got just a little bit more legendary after he won the 2017 US Open. Here are 16 things he achieved with his latest win:
1. He won his third US Open. Nadal now has three career US Open titles, in 2010 (beating Djokovic in the final), 2013 (again beating Djokovic in the final) and 2017 (beating Anderson in the final).
2. He won his 16th Grand Slam title. Probably the biggest number - Nadal is in second place all-time for most Grand Slam titles, with Federer in first place (19) and Sampras in third place (14).
3. He won his first major outside of Roland Garros in four years. Nadal’s won a lot of French Opens, A LOT - he got his 10th this year - but his last major elsewhere had been the 2013 US Open.
4. He won his first hardcourt title in more than three and a half years. Nadal’s last hardcourt trophy had come in Doha, Qatar in January 2014 - which was all of 34 hardcourt tournaments ago.
5. He improved to 5-0 against Anderson. While one of their meetings could have gone Anderson’s way - the South African held match point in Paris in 2015 - the other four have all been straight sets.
6. He improved to 16-7 in Grand Slam finals. And Sunday’s win also gave him a 6-1 record in Grand Slam finals against players outside the Big Four (the only loss: Wawrinka, Australia, 2014).
7. He’s the first to pass $10 million in prize money in 2017. Nadal now has $11,264,905 for the year, jumping over Federer, who currently has $9,419,735. Third place is Zverev with $3,570,885.
8. He hung onto No.1. Going into the tournament, Federer had a shot at returning to No.1 - but by losing to del Potro in the quarterfinals, Federer’s chance was gone, at least for this tournament…
9. He increased his lead at No.1. Going into the US Open, Nadal had 7,645 points and two players were within 500 points (Murray 7,150 and Federer 7,145). Now, Nadal has an almost-2,000-point cushion (Nadal has 9,465 points, No.2 Federer has 7,505 points and No.3 Murray has 6,790 points).
10. The Big Four has won 46 of the last 51 majors. Only five majors in the last 12 and a half years have gone to players outside the Big Four - the 2009 US Open (del Potro), the 2014 US Open (Cilic) and the 2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open (all three to Wawrinka).
11. He’s just the sixth man in the Open Era with three US Opens. Nadal joins Connors (five titles), Federer (five titles), Sampras (five titles), Lendl (four titles) and McEnroe (three titles) on the list.
12. He won his second Grand Slam title as a 30-something. Nadal’s the seventh man in tennis history to win multiple majors as a 30-something, after Laver (four majors), Rosewall (four majors), Federer (three majors), Agassi (two majors), Connors (two majors) and Wawrinka (two majors).
13. He kept the Grand Slams in the hands of 30-somethings. Nadal made it five in a row for 30-somethings: 31-year-old Wawrinka (2016 US Open), 35-year-old Federer (Australian Open), 31-year-old Nadal (French Open), 35-year-old Federer (Wimbledon) and 31-year-old Nadal (US Open).
14. He’s won more than one Grand Slam title in a year for the fourth time. Nadal has now won multiple majors four separate years: 2008 (two majors), 2010 (three majors) and 2013 (two majors).
15. The US Open is now his clear-cut second-best major. His best is obviously Roland Garros in terms of titles (10) and match wins (79), but the US Open is now his second-best in both categories too with three titles (passing his two at Wimbledon) and 53 wins (passing his 51 in Australia).
16. He’s within three majors of Federer’s record again. For much of 2017 it looked like Federer might start increasing his lead in most career majors - but we’ll finish the year right where we started in terms of the gap, Federer starting three ahead (17 to 14) and finishing three ahead (19 to 16).
As for the actual tennis, here’s a little taste of how Nadal achieved all of those numbers…