Rafael Nadal has captured his 19th career Grand Slam and it was by no means easy.
The Spaniard outclassed Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in a five-set thriller in the 2019 US Open final late Sunday night.
This is Nadal’s fourth US Open title and it was a hard-earned one.
The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander has now moved just one shy of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record 20 Grand Slam triumphs and became the second-oldest New York champion in the Open era after Ken Rosewall in 1970 at age 35.
“This has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career,” Nadal said after his victory.
A video tribute in the wake of his gritty triumph moved Nadal to tears.
“The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable,” Nadal said.
“Watching all the success, all the moments that came to my mind, I tried to hold the emotion, but some moments was impossible.”
It took a supreme effort from the Spanish maestro, who nearly became the first player to drop the final after leading by two sets since Ted Schroeder in 1949 before winning a near five-hour thriller.
“This victory means a lot,” Nadal said. “And the way it happened. It was hard to control the nerves. The nerves were so high after having the match almost under control.”
After a job well done, world number two Nadal will be smiling home with the top prize of $3.85 million and added to his US Open trophy haul from 2010, 2013 and 2017.
Nadal, who was in his fifth US Open championship match and 27th Grand Slam final, is the first man to claim five major titles after turning 30.