OK, this result was never that much in doubt… Even Rafael Nadal hinted in interviews the last couple of days that he might have trouble with the Djokovic machine – and it turns out Rafa’s fears were well grounded. Djokovic continued his amazing season (now 64-2) by rolling over Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 to win his first U.S. Open. (Nobody believes it’ll be his last, either.)
Neither the scores nor the video above tell the full story of this match. For one thing, it took about 4 grueling hours to play – longer than Djoko’s 5-set win over Roger Federer on Saturday. For another, the level of tennis, especially in the 3rd set, was as high as anything we’ve seen in years – maybe ever. Long, punishing rallies of 20+ strokes, driven by crushing baseline shots, fantastic saves, subtle net play, and killing winners on both sides. Only Djoko could have beaten Nadal today; only Nadal could have pushed Djoko that far in the 3rd set.
What’s just as amazing is that Djokovic closed out the match with a 6-1 set, all the while suffering from back spasms that had needed a medical attention break after the 3rd-set tiebreak. Nadal must have wondered what was going on, with his opponent supposedly hurting, and yet playing such brilliant points. In the end it was Nadal himself who looked to be running out of gas, legs seizing up in the final few points.
A fitting end to a great two weeks of tennis…congrats to the world #1, who is uncontestedly, categorically the Best Player in the World.