After a relatively smooth run to the final, Rafael Nadal won the 2019 US Open in dramatic fashion on Sunday night, edging Daniil Medvedev in an absolute epic for the title, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.
Here are 19 things Nadal achieved in Flushing Meadows this year:
1. He won the 19th Grand Slam title of his career. The Spaniard now has one Australian Open (2009), 12 French Opens (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019), two Wimbledons (2008 and 2010) and four US Opens (2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019).
2. He’s now just one behind Federer. Roger Federer still holds the all-time men’s record for most Grand Slam titles at 20, but with 19, Nadal’s just one behind. The last time he was just one behind Federer’s majors was over 15 years ago, when the Swiss had one major and the Spaniard had none.
3. He’s closing in on Federer’s Grand Slam finals record, too. Federer still holds the all-time men’s record for most Grand Slam finals at 31, but Nadal’s now at 27. The gap was 30-24 to start the year.
4. He improved to 19-8 in Grand Slam finals. Broken down by Grand Slam that’s 1-4 in Australian Open finals, 12-0 in French Open finals, 2-3 in Wimbledon finals and now 4-1 in US Open finals.
5. He won his fourth US Open title. He’s just the fifth man in the Open Era to win four or more US Opens. Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Federer won five each, while John McEnroe won four.
6. He became the second-oldest man in the Open Era to win the US Open. At age 33, Nadal’s the second-oldest man in the Open Era to win the US Open after Ken Rosewall, who won it at 35 in 1970.
7. He’s the first man in the Open Era to win five Grand Slam titles after turning 30. By winning the 2017 French Open, 2017 US Open, 2018 French Open, 2019 French Open and 2019 US Open, Nadal is the only man in the Open Era who’s won five or more Grand Slam titles after turning 30.
Only one woman in the Open Era has done it - Serena Williams has won 10 since turning 30.
8. He’s now 209-1 at Grand Slams after he wins the first two sets. He almost let it slip - after winning the first two sets and going up a break in the third, he watched on as Medvedev broke back and took the third and fourth set, even getting to break point early in the fifth - but Nadal closed it out.
His only loss at a major from two sets up remains his loss to Fabio Fognini at the 2015 US Open.
9. It was the longest Grand Slam final he’s ever won. The longest Grand Slam final Nadal had ever won beforehand, by time, was his victory over Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final, which lasted 4:48. His win over Medvedev in the 2019 US Open final was just three minutes longer at 4:51.
10. He’s now won 27 of his last 28 matches. Since mid-May Nadal’s won four of the five tournaments he’s played, his only loss coming to Federer in a tight four-setter in the semifinals of Wimbledon.
11. He’s now 47-6 on the year. He’s won the second-most tour-level matches of any man or woman this year. Only the man he beat in the US Open final - Medvedev - has more, going 50-17 in 2019.
12. He’s now on a 20-match winning streak against Russians. His last loss to a Russian came more than eight years ago in January 2011, falling to Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals of Doha.
13. This is the fifth time he’s won multiple majors in a season. He won two in 2008, three in 2010, two in 2013, two in 2017 and now two in 2019. Only two other men in the Open Era have done that five or more times - Federer, who’s done it six times, and Novak Djokovic, who’s done it five times.
14. He’s now just 640 points behind Djokovic on the rankings. Going into the US Open, No. 1 Djokovic had a cushion of 3,740 points over No. 2 Nadal - but that’s now down to just 640 points. Even more daunting is that Djokovic has 2,600 points to defend the rest of the year. Nadal: zero.
15. He’s now almost 2,000 points ahead of Djokovic on the year-to-date standings. Nadal and Djokovic were the top two on the Race To London going into the US Open, but the gap was only 140 points (7,225 to 7,085). Nadal has now widened the gap to 1,960 points (9,225 to 7,265).
After doing it in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017, could Nadal be on track for a fifth year-end No. 1 finish?
16. He’s spending his 750th straight week in the Top 10 this week. His place in the Top 10 was never in danger at the US Open, but it’s worth noting the longest active streak in the Top 10 hitting another milestone. It’s the second-longest streak ever - Connors had 789 straight weeks from 1973 to 1988.
17. The Big Three have now won the last 12 Grand Slams. They’ve swept the last three seasons of majors, with Federer winning three of the 12, Djokovic winning four and Nadal winning five.
18. The Big Three have now won 51 of the last 59 Grand Slams. Starting with the 2005 French Open, they’ve won all but eight majors. Only four other men have broken through: Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have won three each, while Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic have won one each.
19. He extended the winning streak of 30-somethings at majors to 13. Nadal winning the 2019 US Open makes it 13 straight majors with a champion in their 30s. The streak began with Wawrinka’s triumph at the 2016 US Open, followed by 12 straight majors from Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.