Rafael Nadal encourages disaster victims fightback after US Open win | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Rafael Nadal encourages disaster victims fightback after US Open win

Rafael Nadal won his 16th Grand Slam title and third US Open crown by defeating South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. His victory came as Hurricane Irma was causing extensive damage across Florida, the home base for Anderson and many other top tennis stars

tennis Updated: Sep 11, 2017 10:59 IST
Rafael Nadal during his US Open men’s singles final against Kevin Anderson.
Rafael Nadal during his US Open men’s singles final against Kevin Anderson.(AP)

World number one Rafael Nadal encouraged the victims of recent natural disasters not to give up and to fight back after devastation to their lives and homes after his US Open final triumph Sunday.

The 31-year-old Spaniard won his 16th Grand Slam title and third US Open crown by defeating South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to take a top prize of $3.7 million (3.07 million euros).

His victory came as Hurricane Irma was causing extensive damage across Florida, the home base for Anderson and many other top tennis stars, after the killer storm had devastated several Caribbean nations.

READ | Rafael Nadal revels in ‘unbelievable’ year, thanks uncle Toni after winning US Open

And in the wake of an earthquake in Mexico and flooding from another hurricane last week along the Texas coast that played out during the Flushing Meadows fortnight, Nadal used his moment in the spotlight to say his heart was with those in need.

“I just want to say sorry for all the victims and keep going for everybody,” Nadal said.

“It’s very sad moments for our world but keep fighting to come back.”

Nadal, who won his 10th French Open crown in June, reflected on a year that followed two down seasons nagged by injuries that had some doubting he would ever regain Slam championship form.

READ | Rafael Nadal vs Kevin Anderson US Open tennis 2017 final video highlights

“It’s just unbelievable what happened this year,” he said. “After a couple of years with a lot of trouble, I’ve been playing a very high level of tennis.

“To close the Grand Slam year winning at New York -- that’s one of the events that’s really high energy, the crowd -- makes me so so happy.

“Thanks to life for giving me that opportunity... this US Open I feel a little bit like home.”

Nadal also took a moment to praise Anderson as “a great example for a lot of kids and the rest of the tour. You came back from a lot of injuries better than ever.”

Anderson, 31, was in his first Slam final and while unable to even muster a break point against Nadal, he praised the Spaniard as one of his idols, saying, “I know we’re the same age but I feel like I’ve been watching you my whole life.

“You’re one of the toughest competitors in the game and one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport.”

Anderson said he would work hard to try and reach more Slam finals.

“This isn’t the result I always wanted but I’ll keep fighting and I’ll be back,” said Anderson. “I’m going to keep working hard. Hopefully I’ll keep giving myself opportunities.”