Rafael Nadal completed the career Grand Slam with a win over Novak Djokovic in Monday’s U.S. Open final, a feat accomplished by just six others. But where does Nadal rank against tennis’ all-time greats?
“That one goes wide. And Nadal, in ecstasy. First ever U.S. Open title. Seventh player to complete the career Grand Slam.” (ESPN)
Rafael Nadal has become just the seventh man in history — to win the Grand Slam of professional tennis. And at age 24, the Mallorca, Spain native — is the youngest ever to do it. Some are now calling him — potentially the greatest tennis player to ever live.
We’re analyzing coverage from ESPN, The New York Daily News, CBS Sports, The BBC, and TimesLive.
Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News describes why this victory is so significant for Nadal: “Nadal won his first U.S. Open tonight with a heroic victory over Novak Djokovic of Serbia in four sets. And they were four of the most intense, hardest hitting sets you will ever see. The victory was the pinnacle for Nadal who has won major championships all over the world but had never won here. Had never been in a final here. Until tonight.”
ESPN blogger Peter Bodo notes, not only has Nadal become the youngest modern player to win the Grand Slam, he did it by grit, determination and hard work: “In winning the U.S. Open, Nadal completed a remarkable transformation from a radical clay-court stylist into a man for all surfaces and all majors. He did it with the diligence and patience of a craftsman, rather than an artist, which is the thing that fans of “beautiful tennis” — the kind Roger Federer plays — have always held against Nadal.”
CBS Sports’ John McEnroe and Dick Enberg point out — with wins this year in the French Open, Wimbledon and now the U.S. Open — the recent run Nadal has made puts him in elite company.
MCENROE: “You could make an argument that he’s one of the greatest players, the greatest player, forget one of the greatest players who’s ever lived. You could make the argument.”
ENBERG: “He’s the only man in history to win three consecutive majors on three different surfaces. On clay in Paris, on grass at Wimbledon, and now on the hard courts of New York.”
The BBC’s Jonathan Overend says, he certainly appears to be the best of the current era — including Roger Federer: “Federer has more titles, a world record 16 majors, but Nadal is much younger and – important to the debate – has beaten his rival to win in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Federer’s triumphs over Nadal at the majors have come exclusively on the London lawns. Add Nadal’s Olympic gold from Beijing, a record haul of Masters titles … plus Davis Cup victories and it’s arguably a stronger list of accolades.”
But with just 9 major titles to his name, Jon Leicester of Johannesburg’s Sunday Times says — let’s not get carried away: “Mr. Muscles from Mallorca understands how inappropriate and borderline indecent it is to already be asking whether he is or will become tennis’ greatest player of all time. Roger Federer is not dead yet. Not even close. The Swiss owner of a record 16 Grand Slam tournament titles still has a far, far bigger claim to the honourific title of ‘greatest.'”
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