Tennis fans have been spoilt. It was only last year that Roger Federer claimed his Grand Slam and now Rafael Nadal has done the same. In a scintillating match, Nadal beat 2007 runner-up Novak Djokovic in four tough sets.
Whilst the talk for the greatest-of-all-time title is gathering steam, the focus must stay on the accomplishments of Nadal and Djokovic over the past fortnight. Djokovic came in underrated and was considered a write-off for the tournament. Yet he showed how much he has matured over the years by hanging in tough when looking down the barrel of defeat. He won five setters against Victor Troicki and Federer, the latter of which can only fill him with much-needed confidence. His serve is still a work in progress but he was double-faulting far less than he was in the first half of the year. His groundstrokes have sting and power, he moves well and is barely ever injured. By improving his serve and fitness, Djokvoic’s future is looking bright. At 23, Djokovic is likely to hit is peak at the classic age of 24. He will use this win as a springboard for 2011, where he will be hoping to win his second Slam.
As for Nadal, he took full advantage of a weak draw and came into the final fresh. This enabled him to run down ball after ball as well as dictate rallies with power and accuracy. This US Open certainly was Nadal’s best chance for the career Slam with Juan Martin del Potro out and Andy Murray struggling for form. With the others lagging behind, Nadal stepped up, flattened his serve, and played aggressive hard-court tennis. Playing the tennis of his life, Nadal has won the last three Slams and will look to make it four in a row in January. At 24, Nadal is at the peak of his career, there couldn’t have been a better time to win the one Slam that had eluded him.
Although tennis had hoped for a Federer-Nadal final, they can’t be disappointed with the quality they got. Both men showed amazing tennis, sportsmanship, and passion for the game. With Federer at 29, the years ahead are likely to be dominated by the likes of Nadal and Djokovic. With del Potro making a return to the tour soon, Murray searching for a new coach, and Federer far from down and out, the tennis world looks to be set on fire in 2011.