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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer: The great Grand Slam race heats up after 2019 US Open

US Open 2019: With his epic victory in the 2019 US Open his final, his fourth win at the Flushing Meadows, Nadal is now within touching distance of Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles.

tennis Updated: Sep 09, 2019 13:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the championship trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, to win the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in New York.
Rafael Nadal, of Spain, holds up the championship trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, to win the men's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in New York.(AP)
         

As a 33-year old Rafael Nadal dug deep into his seemingly bottomless reserve of energy and grit once again at the Arthur Ashe, fans world over could see how much he wanted to make this count. The Spaniard is well aware of the chinks in his body and he knows time is fast running out. Unlike his great adversary, Roger Federer, the southpaw’s body has never been his ally. But the Mallorcan can’t blame his body for it. The hostile nature of his game puts enormous amount of pressure on every muscle and every bone and that is visible in the way he grimaces in pain even on court, whenever he has to play those energy sapping five setters.

Nadal knows all about losing in Grand Slam finals, although with 8 losses he has still fared better in the summit clash than his two great opponents, Federer (11) and Novak Djokovic (9).

ALSO READ: Where are Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in all-time men’s Grand Slam winners list

With his epic victory in the 2019 US Open his final, his fourth win at the Flushing Meadows, Nadal is now within touching distance of Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles. The Spaniard has the advantage of being younger than the Swiss and hence has every chance of catching up with Federer. Here’s a complete break-up of the duo’s Grand Slam victories in terms of years.

2003: Federer - 1 , Nadal - 0

2004: Federer - 3, Nadal - 0

2005: Federer - 2, Nadal - 1

The year 2005 is important in analysing the competition between the duo. By the end of the year Federer had amassed 6 slams while Nadal had won his maiden French Open title to open his slam account.

2006: Federer 3, Nadal 1

2007: Federer 3, Nadal 1

2008: Federer 1, Nadal 2

The year 2008 is again crucial as this is the first calendar year when Nadal ends up winning more slams than Federer. He beat the Swiss ace in the finals at French Open and for the first time at Wimbledon.

2009: Federer 2, Nadal 1

Great year for Federer as he completes his career slam by breaking Nadal’s dominance on clay. A surprise loss for the Spaniard meant Federer had a an easy passage to the title. He would go on to win the Wimbledon too and go past Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles.

2010: Federer, 1, Nadal 3

2011: Federer 0, Nadal 1

2012: Federer 1, Nadal 1

2013: Federer 0, Nadal 2

2014: Federer 0, Nadal 1

2015: Federer 0, Nadal 0

2016: Federer 0, Nadal 0

2017: Federer 2, Nadal 2

This was a massive year for both the ageing champions as they stunned the tennis world with their comebacks. After two years of not winning a single grand slam, Federer and Nadal reminded the younger generation of their class.Nadal reached three finals as compared to Federer’s two.

2018: Federer 1, Nadal 1

2019: Federer 0, Nadal 2

At the end of 2019, Nadal is just one grand slam away from Federer’s all-time record of 20. While he will have his eyes set on equalling Federer, he must also remember that a hungry and rejuvenated Novak Djokovic is also in touching distance of the duo. The Serbian has 16 slams to his name and a fitter and leaner body could mean he may last more than both Nadal and Federer.

It is going to be an intriguing battle between the three over the next couple of years and fans are not saying no to such amazing action on the courts.

First Published: Sep 09, 2019 13:15 IST