US Open 2017: Rafa Nadal has more bite than ever


US Open 2017: Rafa Nadal has more bite than ever
  1. US Open 2017: Rafa Nadal has more bite than ever
    express.co.uk
    THE SYMMETRY was perfect; the tennis, at times, was…
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Rafa Nadal won the US Open

Rafael Nadal ended the Grand Slam season with the US Open trophy in his arms and a smile that lit up New York.

It was his 16th major title, his second of the year, and he crushed Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win it.

It meant that at the age of 31 and 36 respectively, Nadal and Roger Federer, the top two in the world rankings, had divided the spoils of 2017 between them with two Grand Slam titles apiece. The two greatest players the sport has ever seen were in their pomp again.

The final itself was less spectacular – Anderson simply could not touch Nadal, not with his serve, not with his volleys and certainly not with his lack of experience in major finals.

After three years plagued by injury and – surprisingly – a lack of confidence in 2015, Nadal has reinvented himself as the supreme champion. He started slowly in New York but after a couple of rounds, he gathered momentum and he was untouchable in the second week.

“It’s a very special year,” Nadal said. “I had a couple of years without winning Slams, couple of years with problems. 2016, 2014 have been years that I had injuries and tough ones in the middle of the season, so that’s impossible to recover in the same year.

It’s a very special year

Rafa Nadal

“And 2015 was not injuries, physical injuries. It was mental injury. After a couple of years without competing at this very high, high level, I’m very happy to be back and it’s an emotional year.”

The year also marked a turning point in Nadal’s career. Sunday night was the last time Uncle Toni, Nadal’s coach for the past 28 years, would sit in the box to advise his nephew.

Carlos Moya is now charged with that role and the former French Open champion and world No1 has plans for a long career ahead of him.

Provided he can stay injury-free, Nadal is looking at many more years of success and Moya thinks the resurgent Federer is the key to that potential success.

“They make each other better,” Moya said. “For Rafa, having that challenge, it’s something that for sure makes you evolve, makes you improve, and try to look at some of the things that Federer is doing, because what he has done this year at 36 is unbelievable. Federer is a guy you can learn a lot from.”

Older, wiser and better t…

Rafa Nadal won the US Open