Rafa Nadal won his fourth Canadian Open title making it his most successful hardcourt tournament. It is his third ATP Masters 1000 of the year, the 33rd of his career, his fifth title of the year and his 80th career title.
“Is not about the 80th title. It’s about winning another Masters 1000. It’s about winning the tournament here in Toronto, Masters 1000 of Toronto. That’s the most important thing.
“The 80th tournament is of course great number, important one. Very happy. But it’s about another Masters 1000. Masters 1000′s are tournaments so difficult to win, sometimes are even more difficult to win Masters 1000 than Grand Slams because you can’t avoid tough opponents. And that’s it.
“And I achieved one tournament that I came here with the goal to win it. But I really know that going to be a very tough one to make it happen and it happened. So very happy.
The 32-year-old world No.1 defeated birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 7-6. It was a match that turned very competitive when the now 20-year-old broke serve in the 10th game as Nadal served for the title and even had a set point to push it into a decider.
“It’s been ten years without coming back to Toronto,” Nadal said who has now beaten Tsitsipas twice this year, the other being in the Barcelona final. “I had too many injuries in my career to come here more often but this week has been fantastic, to receive this trophy. It means everything to me and to have the support of all the fans.
“That is why I’m waking up each morning, to try and go on court, practicing with the best passion possible. Thanks for all the special feelings I have when I am on court.”
Nadal, who has never lost a Canada final having also won the title in 2005, 2008 and 2013, has also become the first player to qualify for this year’s ATP Finals in London. It is his 14th consecutive year to qualify for the season-ending championships and he secured his place after his three set quarterfinal win over Marin Cilic.
It had been a remarkable week for the young Greek player who became the first man to beat four top ten players at the same event since the inception of the ATP World Tour in 1990. He accounted for Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and saved a match point to stop Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals. This effort catapult him into the world’s top 15 for the first time.
And when the crowd ended their rendition of “Happy Birthday”, Tsitsipas said: “It’s amazing. I have the week of my life. This trophy means a lot to me; it’s my first time in a Masters 1000 final. It’s such a feeling … and beating Djokovic was the best part of the week, very emotional.”
Nadal’s forehand was lethal for the first set and a half but in the second set the young Greek was holding on and staying in touch with the Spaniard. While he didn’t show any signs of tiredness having finished his semi-final against Karen Khachanov past midnight, maybe in that tenth game of the second set when he served for the title, there was a slight lapse which Tsitsipas took advantage of.
The crowd certainly came alive but in the tiebreak, Nadal struck gold once again with his returns and sealed the title. The last four of five games were certainly captivating.
“I have been very positive first set for me,” Nadal said. “I think I played well. Probably the best first set or best set on the whole event for me. In the second, the match became a little bit more maybe boring. You know, we were not winning a lot of points on the opponent’s serve. And then arrived the moment that I had to close the match, and I played a horrible game, no?
“So, yeah, after that, he started to play better. I got a little bit tight and nervous, and then he had a set point in that second set. So, yeah, very happy to have this trophy with me again. It means a lot. Have been, yeah, a fantastic week, very positive one.”
The doubles title was won by Henri Kontinen and John Peers, they defeated Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-2, 3-6, 10-6.