(Photo taken from https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/49539544)

After winning a match full of obstacles, 33 year old Spanish superstar, Rafael Nadal, won his 19th grand slam and fourth U.S. open title in his legendary career. He also defeated rising superstar tennis player Daniil Medvedev within five sets.

Thanks to Nadal’s skills, dedication, hard work, and perseverance, he still is able to win Grand Slams at an age not many players can still compete at. Earlier this year, the King of Clay, as he is known, won his 12th French Open title and his 18th grand slam title. Both Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won two major titles in 2019. Along with Roger Federer and Djokovic, Nadal is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. 

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During the match, Daniil Medvedev was down two sets to none in the third set. He came back from being down 2-0 to 2-2. This became more of a challenge for Nadal. He battled through the fifth set and won 6-4. He is one grand slam away from tying Federer, who holds the record of 20 grand slams. Nadal not only has a chance of tying Federer, but surpassing him by next year. 

Nadal only has two competitors that he needs to worry about as everybody else doesn’t stand a chance against him. He is ranked number two in the world under Djokavic — currently 32 — who in 2019, won the Australian open and Wimbledon and is currently the number one player in the world. However, during his match with Stan Warinka in the U.S Open, Djokovich injured his right shoulder and was forced to withdraw from the match.

The big three are Nadal, Federer, and Djokovich. Together they have a record of winning twelve consecutive grand slams within a three year period. Nadal has 19 titles, Federer has 20 titles, and Djokovich has 16 titles.

The last person to win a grand slam out of the big three was Stan Wawrinka, who won the U.S Open champion in 2016. Nadal’s challenger Medvedev was crushing it during the summer on the hard courts. People even predicted that he was going to win the U.S. Open this year. However, he failed to claim his prize. Nadal said that he wants to pass Federer before he ends his career. 

Nadal’s career has been a major success ever since day one. On April 29, 2002, at 15 years old, ranked number 762 in the world, he won his first Association of Tennis Professionals match, defeating Ramón Delgado, and became the ninth player in the Open Era to do so before the age of 16. On Aug. 18th, 2008, Nadal became the number one player in the world for the first time in his career.

In his late 20’s, however, Nadal went through many devastating injuries that could’ve been the end of his career. Nadal has had knee, wrist, back, and abdominal injuries. The knees were the worst for Nadal’s career because of his tendons that he torn. In 2009, Nadal injured both of his knees in his match for the French Open, and he had to skip the rest of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. He still has to take painkillers all the time to prevent any pain or future injuries. Most importantly, he has since focused on strength and conditioning, which was able to help him prevent the same injuries — especially his knees. Ever since 2017, Nadal hasn’t had any significant injuries.

What makes Nadal still great is his athleticism and hard work. His workout training routine uses weight training during the off season and mainly just working on his tennis skills during the season. Nadal normally wakes up at 8:30 in the morning and plays tennis from 9:30 to 1:30 in the afternoon. He then trains in his gym from 4:30 to 7 in the evening. He does this everyday until tournaments begin. 

Nadal also eats a great diet for the whole year, mostly seafood and vegetables. He avoids eating meat and carbohydrates because they slow him down unlike lighter foods that brings him into his top performance. During his matches, Nadal eats bananas to keep his energy flowing since it is a carb. He normally doesn’t eat carbs but bananas are one of the only carbs he eats since it helps him perform well. He has the same diet ever since he started his career. As long as he sticks to his diet and his workout routine, Nadal will always compete at a high level. 

Besides his current statistics, his career stats are off the charts. His winning percentage in his career is 83.1 percent in the ATP tour for men’s singles. That is the highest winning percentage of all time. Another tennis legend named Jimmy Connors has the most wins of 1,274 meanwhile, Nadal has 967 wins. The only obstacles in his way to tying Connors are Federer, Djokovich, and injuries. 

Nadal is one grand slam away from Federer with a total of 20. Nadal has all the time in the world to win at least two more to pass Federer. By next year, Nadal will be 34 years old. If the Spaniard still plays at an elite level, he will most likely become the best tennis player of all time.

Video of the 2012 Aus Open.

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