It wasn’t easy but Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam by defeating Daniil Medvedev in a five set thriller at the U.S Open final.

Rafael Nadal Won His 19th Grand Slam

The ageless wonder Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam title by beating Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4. The match lasted four hours and 49 minutes in a contest that seemed like Nadal was not going to be able to put away. Nadal was able to beat Medvedev easily last month at the Rogers Cup final in Montreal. Before the match, Medvedev warned him that this time will be different because he knew what to expect. He was absolutely right about that.

Although the night saw Rafael Nadal claim his 19th Grand Slam title, this was only the third time it took him five sets to do it. Only Roger Federer had ever pushed him to the limit like this. He was able to defeat Federer in five sets in the 2008 Wimbledon Final and in the 2009 Australian Open Final as well.

Daniil Medvedev Has a Bright Future

If you put the antics aside, it’s obvious that Daniil Medvedev will be a force to be reckoned with in men’s tennis for years to come. Coming into this match, he was fighting several different injury issues. He did not let that affect his play here in the final and he must be commended for that. Instead of folding under the pressure of being down two sets in a Grand Slam final to an all time great, he fought and clawed his way back to pull the match dead even.

This was a historic performance for Medvedev who will surely use this experience as a springboard for the rest of his career. He had never made a Grand Slam final before this but he did prove one thing in New York. He showed the world he is a man for the big stage. The crowd was absolutely against him in this tournament and he used it as motivation. That is the stuff of champions.

In the end, he seemed to win over the New York public with his fighting spirit in the final. After thanking them earlier in the tournament for booing him, a humbler and appreciative Medvedev thanked them for their positive energy. The combination of his skill and personality should take him a long way in the sport.

Nadal’s Place Among the All Time Greats

In the never ending battle with Federer and Djokovic, Rafael Nadal won his 19th Grand Slam to move one behind Federer (20) and three ahead of Djokovic (16). The three tennis giants don’t seem to be slowing down much to the dismay of the rest of the men’s field. Their strangle hold over the sport doesn’t seem like it will be over any time soon.

The win also sees Nadal move 1,960 points ahead of Djokovic in the ATP Race to London. If Nadal finishes the year ranked No. 1, he would tie both Federer and Djokovic for second most year end No. 1 finishes. That would put all three men one behind Pete Sampras’ record of six. It seems like these three are locked in their own battle while the rest of the tennis world watches on in awe of their collective greatness.