It’s Good To Be The Boss
Rafael Nadal is the final boss of the ATP. The smashing Spaniard trounced South African Grand Slam-first timer Kevin Anderson in straight sets to cement his status at the top of the tennis food chain. Not much of a surprise there, we must say. Roger F. is having an insane season by any standard (and particularly for his advanced tennis age) but Nadal is having a comeback for the ages. Where the hell are these guys getting all the stamina and recovery time from?
Yahoo has the lowdown:
Rafael Nadal entered the 2017 Grand Slam season on a 2 1/2 -year drought without so much as one appearance in a major final, let alone a title. He ends it having reasserted himself, capped by a U.S. Open final that shaped up as quite a mismatch — and turned out to be exactly that.
His game at a higher level than it needed to be by the end of an unusually easy path through the field, Nadal overwhelmed Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win his third championship at Flushing Meadows.
“Of course, after a couple of years without competing at this very high, high level,” Nadal said, “very happy to be back.”
The No. 1-ranked Nadal collected his 16th Grand Slam trophy overall and at his news conference, he wore a white T-shirt listing the date and site of each one. Among men, only Roger Federer has more, with 19. Each of those two longtime rivals won two of the four majors this season, marking their return to the heights of their sport.
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Nadal has dealt with knee and wrist problems, both likely a result of his physical brand of play, over his career, but 2015 and 2016 were his first seasons without reaching at least one Grand Slam final since 2004, when he was still a teenager. Seems safe to say that, at age 31, he is once again the Nadal of old.
Nadal’s career haul also includes two trophies from Wimbledon and one from the Australian Open. All of his big victories have come while being coached by his uncle, Toni, who is now stepping aside. The U.S. Open was the last Grand Slam event of their partnership. It was not as daunting as usual.
Not since Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2000 had a man won a Slam tournament without facing any opponents ranked in the top 20. In New York, the bracket was weakened by the injury withdrawals of three of the top five men: past champions Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka.
Bottom line? Screw you, Federer! See ya, Murray! Not so fast, Zverev . . . and you either, Shapovalov!