Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2013 Contents NEW YORK---Rafael Nadal was
not quite ready to contemplate his
place in tennis history.
It had been less than two hours
since a gripping victory over Novak
Djokovic earned Nadal his second
US Open championship and 13th
Grand Slam title overall.
So when a question came about
the likelihood of catching up to the
only men who have won more
major trophies---Roger Federer has
17, Pete Sampras has 14---Nadal
simply smiled and replied: "Let
me enjoy today."
As it is, the 27-year-old Nadal
said, his Grand Slam collection
is "much more than what
I ever thought...ever
about his lat-
achieved by beat-
ing No. 1-ranked
Djokovic on the
of their rollick-
ing points that
lasted 15, 25, even
more than 50 strokes.
Withstanding Djokovic s
ball style, Nadal eventu-
ally pulled away to win
their taut final at Flushing Meadows
6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Monday.
"Means a lot, this one," Nadal
That s because he watched last
year s US Open on TV from the
sofa back home in Spain, sidelined
by a left knee injury that forced
him off the tour for about seven
Nadal knew he d return to tennis.
Less clear was whether he would
ever return to an elite level.
It turns out, he might just be
better than ever.
And when the last point was
done on Monday, Nadal fell on his
back, then rolled over onto his
stomach and buried his face in his
arms. The tears started
"It s normal that I
was crying. I came
from a not-easy situa-
tion, a tough one,"
Nadal said. "All the
things...happening to me
are a surprise and are
the result (of) the tough
work after the low
moments. So that
makes the victories
Earlier in his
Nadal s prowess at
the French Open
and other tourna-
ments played on
slow, red clay
earned him the
of Clay. His first
four major titles
came in Paris.
But by tinkering
with his game and
constantly seeking to
improve, he has
become a master of
surface. He s one of seven men with
a career Grand Slam: In addition
to his record eight French Open
championships, he has two from
the US Open s hard courts, one
from the Australian Open s hard
courts, and two from Wimbledon s
By adding two major titles this
season, at Roland Garros and
Flushing Meadows, Nadal became
the first man with at least one in
nine consecutive years.
Even Federer did not do that.
"I mean, whatever he achieved
so far in his career is something
that everybody should respect, no
question about it," Djokovic said
"He s definitely one of the best
tennis players ever to play the
game, I mean, looking at his
achievements and his age, at this
moment," continued Djokovic,
a six-time major champion.
"He still has a lot of years to
Nadal is 60-3 in 2013
with ten titles and two
runner-up finishes. The
only tournament where he
didn t reach the final was
Wimbledon, where he lost to
135th-ranked Steve Darcis in
the first round.
Rebounding from that
shocking setback, Nadal
has gone unbeaten since,
raising his record on hard
courts to 22-0 this year.
"What he is doing on
hard courts is unbeliev-
able for us," said Toni
Nadal, Rafael s uncle
Not bad for a guy
people used to think
could not succeed on
that speedy surface
because of its wear and
tear on his body. He
plays more aggressively
now, moving closer to---
or even inside---the
baseline and looking to
end points sooner when
It didn t always hap-
pen that way against
They started in sunlight and fin-
ished at night, a three-hour, 21-
minute miniseries of cliffhangers
and plot twists with a pair of pro-
tagonists who inspired standing
ovations in the middle of games.
"It s what we do when we play
against each other, always pushing
each other to the limit," Djokovic
This was their 37th match, the
most between any two men in the
Open era, and Nadal has won 22.
It also was their third head-to-
head US Open final in the last four
years. Nadal beat Djokovic for the
2010 title, and Djokovic won their
What might have been most
impressive about Nadal this time
was the way he stayed steady when
Djokovic recovered from a rough
start and began asserting himself.
Nadal was broken once through
his first six matches in the tour-
nament---a string that reached 88
games by early in the final s second
set. But with Djokovic gaining con-
trol of more of the many extended
exchanges, he broke Nadal three
times in a row.
The final momentum shift back
to Nadal came when he served at
four-all in the third set. Djokovic
earned three break points, thanks
in part to a tremendous lob-volley
and another point when Nadal
slipped and tumbled to his back-
But a quick forehand winner by
Nadal, a forehand into the net by
Djokovic on a 22-stroke point, and
a 125 mph (202 kph) ace---Nadal s
only one of the evening, it drew
shouts of "Vamos!" from Uncle
Toni---helped avoid another break.
In the very next game, Nadal
broke Djokovic s serve and, appar-
ently, his will. When that set ended
with Djokovic pushing a forehand
long on a 19-shot point, Nadal
screamed as he knelt down at the
baseline, his racket on the court
and his left fist pumping over and
over and over.
"Thirteen," Nadal would say later
of his Grand Slams, "is an amazing
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MADRID---A Spanish court says Lionel Messi
and his father have been given a new date to
appear in a tax fraud case.
Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio, had
been due in court on September 17, a day
before Barcelona's Champions League match
against Ajax, but the court suspended that
In a ruling published yesterday, the court
now requires Messi to appear on September
27 at 11 am, one hour after his father.
Messi's father made a payment of more than
€5 million (US$6.6 million) on August 14 to
cover alleged taxes outstanding plus interest.
The complaint, lodged by a state prosecutor,
said Messi tried to conceal earnings and that
he owed €4 million (US$5.3 million) in back
Messi given new court date in tax case
Now at 13 Grand Slam titles...
Nadal's gaining on Federer
Rafael Nadal poses with the US Open men's singles tennis
tournament championship trophy at Central Park, yesterday
in New York. Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in four sets on
Monday. AP PHOTO
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