Rafa Nadal was “very happy”. He won his third US Open from four finals and his second major of the year for the fourth time in his career. It was a punishing display from the world No.1 and the more Kevin Anderson tried to keep himself in the final, the more brutal Nadal got with his game.
The final last two hours 27 minutes and ended 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. It was a final that was between two over 30’s for just the seventh tie in the Open-era.
“It’s been a great two weeks,” Nadal said. “Increasing level of tennis, increasing of confidence during that two weeks. Yeah, I have this trophy with me again here in New York. Means a lot to me, no? There is no better way to finish the Grand Slam season for me after a very emotional season in all aspects.
“So very happy the way that I played, happy the way that I managed the pressure, and the way that I was competing during the whole event, no? Playing better or worse, the competitive spirit have been there in a very positive way all the time.”
Anderson was in his first final at the majors and was understandably nervous compared to Nadal who was playing the final of a major for the 23rd time and now has a 16-7 win-loss record.
“It’s definitely a few emotions and experiences I’m going to take from this whole two weeks,” Anderson said. “I mean, obviously very pleased of making my way through to the finals and having that experience.
“I mean, a few players, you know, get that chance. It’s very tough. To step out on court against Rafa, you know, I learned a lot of lessons. It was a difficult match, up against somebody who has been on that stage over 20 times before.
“You know, definitely a few things I needed to have done better. Obviously I had my work cut out for me, but I think overall, obviously it’s been, you know, a very, very positive two weeks for me.”
During the presentation ceremony Anderson noted that “Rafa and I are the same age but I feel I have been watching him play all my life”.
Both men said they were nervous but for Anderson it was vital that he not let Nadal jump on an early lead otherwise it was going to be very difficult but that is exactly what happened and the break in the seventh game of the first set when Anderson sent a forehand wide was the crux of the final and Nadal even said that.
Anderson had only lost serve five times the whole tournament going into the final but the force of Nadal’s returns saw him lose serve four times in the championship match. And adding to the difficulty for the South African was the fact that Nadal never faced a break point.
“The first set was important for me, of course, after a lot of games that he had chances to lose the serve,” Nadal said. “He was holding, and finally he missed that forehand with the 3-All. That changed the rest of the match, because if you get to 5-All in the first set or tiebreak, playing against a big server like him, you are in trouble, no? But having that break before and keep going and convert the set, first set was so important for me.”
“For me is important because is the US Open; I win one of the most important events of the year,” he said. “Is true that I was not winning titles on hard for some time but is not that I was playing bad on hard. I played the final in Australia. I played the final in Acapulco, final in Miami. Ready to win titles. Didn’t happen, is true.
“It happened today. So very happy for that, and the US Open is an amazing event. The energy that this city and this court brings to me is unbelievable, no? I feel very connected with them, and I enjoy the passion that I feel in that court.”
The doubles title went to Jean-Julien Roger and Horia Tecau who beat Marc Lopez and Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-3.
For his singles win Nadal earned $US3.7million and it will make it just that bit tougher for him to be pipped for the world No.1 ranking.