NEW YORK, NY, USA - He won an incredible 16th Grand Slam title there this year, but arguably his greatest career moment at the US Open came seven years ago to this day on September 13, 2010 - Rafael Nadal completed an historic Career Grand Slam with his victory at the 2010 US Open.
Going into New York that year Nadal was having an absolute dream season, sweeping the clay court season with titles at Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid and Roland Garros, then following those up by winning Wimbledon, too. Overall he had won 36 of 39 matches going in (and 14 straight at majors).
And that momentum would only get stronger. He stormed into the US Open final without losing a set, including a semifinal demolition of one of his toughest match-ups, Mikhail Youzhny, 6-2 6-3 6-4, and then he took out longtime rival Novak Djokovic in four sets for the championship, 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Having won his first French Open title in 2005, his first Wimbledon title in 2008 and his first Australian Open title in 2009, Nadal now finally had the US Open for the Career Slam, becoming the seventh man in tennis history to achieve the feat and at age 24, the youngest man in the Open Era to do it.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve worked a lot all my life, and I’ve had so many difficult moments to get here, but I never imagined I would have all four Grand Slams,” Nadal told reporters after the final.
“But it was an amazing feeling. Winning against Novak is always very, very difficult, and the results say that - I lost against him lots of times. But I played my best match at the most important moment.”
The first six men in tennis history to achieve the feat had been Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer - Djokovic has since become the eighth to do it.
Additionally, having won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, he was the second man to have a Career Golden Slam, after Agassi. Nadal and Agassi are still the only two men to have that claim to fame.