Rafa Roundup: We are not ready to say goodbye yet, Uncle Toni!

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“I am honestly not thinking about it being the last one,” Toni Nadal said. “I’m not in the beyond. I’m entirely in the present right now, very happy to be in the final and that Rafael is in another final. I’m not thinking about not being here next year. I’ll think about it next year when I’m in Majorca. Nostalgia is for then, not for now.”

Toni and Rafael have been a pair like no other in the modern game. Toni was Rafael’s first teacher, giving him his first lesson at age 3 on the Spanish island of Majorca that the Nadals still call home. Toni has remained Rafael’s mentor for the last 28 years as Rafael has become one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Nadal, who reclaimed the top spot on August 21, is defending just 100 ranking points after the US Open: 90 for a quarterfinal showing in Beijing, and 10 for a round-of-32 loss at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Shanghai.

The 31-year-old’s only real competition for No. 1 is the 36-year-old Federer, who will move past Andy Murray and into the No. 2 spot on Monday. Like Nadal, Federer has a great opportunity to amass ranking points this fall. While Nadal has practically nothing to defend, Federer actually has nothing to defend, given his decision to end his 2016 season after Wimbledon.

Nadal is attempting to win at least two Grand Slam titles in a season for the fourth time in his career (3 in 2010, 2 in 2008, 2013). He is trying to win his first hard court singles title since January 2014 in Doha (d. Monfils). He has played 34 hard-court tournaments, reaching eight hard-court finals since his last title on the surface. Nadal has not faced a Top 20 opponent at the US Open and the last Grand Slam champion to do that was Pete Sampras at 2000 Wimbledon.

The problem for Anderson is that Rafa has been looking less and less troubled with each match at the Open. He found his game in the third round against Leonardo Mayer—the Argentine’s game bears more than a passing resemblance to Anderson’s—and played with his old swagger in his semifinal steamroll over Juan Martin del Potro. Anderson’s serve alone should allow him to stay close in sets, and it’s easy to imagine him wiping away a dozen break points with it. But Nadal has played 22 more major finals than Anderson. That may be the only stat you need to know for this one.

“He played very smart from the second until the end of the match, because I was just standing all the time on my left side and once he played down the line, he won the point.

“I think at the beginning of the match, he was playing all the time to my backhand, trying to see how good is my backhand at this moment. It was good, but it wasn’t good enough to play a four-set, five-set match. And I couldn’t make any winners in the match, which you must do a lot of winners against Rafa.”

Hard courts will never be Nadal’s favorite surface. That will always be his native clay, to which his game is so naturally suited. But like few others, Nadal has continually tweaked his game, adapting it to compete and win on a surface that began as a challenge.

Had Rafael Nadal had never played a professional tournament in his life on dirt, he would still have a Hall-of-Fame career.

The world No. 1 has been uniquely willing to treak his game and work to improve, rather than stubbornly stick with something that has worked in the past.

Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza ensured a Spanish double at the top of the rankings next week, with Nadal set to stay No. 1 in the ATP rankings and Muguruza reaching the top spot in the WTA rankings for the first time in her career.

VIDEOS: 

  • Rafa on fire 🙂 Love it!

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🙂 #usopen thanks for this. #newyork #final

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104 comments

  1. VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS & VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) CONGRATULATIONS DEAR RAFA ON YOUR SOLID & IMPRESSIVE 2017 US OPEN VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) PURE HAPPINESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU PLAYED SOLID SWEETHEART WITH GREAT ENERGY & GRACE & FIGHTING & YOUR BEAUTIFUL STYLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) OUTSTANDING EXCELLENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) WE LOVE YOU!!!! ENJOY & CELEBRATE WITH YOUR BELOVED FAMILY & THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) YOUR SERVE & RETURNS WERE SOLID………………………….SOLID…………………………..SOLID………………………….
    LOTS OF LOVE & HAPPINESS SWEETHEART & ENJOY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) KEEP SMILING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Lots of love & happiness & VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) WE LOVE YOU & VERY HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) YOU DID IT SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

  2. And finish it with a winner! That smile!!! Well done Rafa, it may have taken you a while to get another HC title, but what a time to make it happen! You have truly proved why you are number 1. So happy right now!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS RAFA! USO Champion and World number 1
    Who could have Know what a fantastic year 2017 would end up being for you.
    I am so proud to be one of your millions of fans. I hope your family know just how special you are ,I’m sure they do.
    Now to Uncle Toni, I will miss seeing you by Rafas’s side in the coming year , it won’t be the same without you, but thank you for developing and sharing such a precious gift with us all , because without you there wouldn’t have been the same Rafa we all admire and Love .
    Susie have a great time in Prague ,come back and tell us all about it
    Rainer , Navdeep and other Rafa fans hope to read your great posts in a couple of weeks at the Laver Cup, where the pressure is Off and we can just relax and enjoy some great tennis
    Night All.

    • Very well said, Maria. I cannot say much right now even “on screen” because I’m feeling tired from smiling non-stop for…, I don’t remember how long.

      Yeah I’ve been looking forward to the Laver Cup since the annoucement. Now it’s gonna be so wonderful with the Fedal’s fairy tale comebacks and being no1 and no2 in the world – who would have thought last year?

      Love you all. I’ll be sticking around babbling with all my might :p.

      Nite nite there. Pls kias the gang for me. 😘😘

  4. OMG! Like every match in this tournament. Rafa was like a runaway train once he got the first set under his belt. That awesome spin. That deadly slice! Incredible stats. Such great tactics! So happy for him!

  5. VAMOS!
    Rafa has done it! Many congratulations, Rafa and everyone! We’re SO happy for you!
    🎾🎾🎾🏆🏆🏆🇪🇸🇪🇸🇪🇸

    We’re gonna get blinded a bit by his jacket in the award ceremony though. 😂😂😂

  6. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ! It happened 3rd us open 16th Grand slam . Congrats everyone. 💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💖💖💖👏👏.
    MENTALLY THIS GUY IS A FORTRESS

  7. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! Finally!!!!!

    You’ve done it again my Rafa!!! You deserve it!!!! Now on and up from here no matter who the opponent is!!!

    So so so so so happy for you your family and all of us true Rafa fans!

  8. Super proud! Well done Rafael Nadal! Deserving champion of US OPEN 2017!!

    Well done Kevin Anderson for putting up a decent resistance… but our Rafa was always going to win this one.

    The sky is the limit for Rafa now… WELL DONE!!

    • Yes Rafa, 19 is more than possible. 2 more French Open at least and just one other to make it 19
      Then the icing on the cake, one more RG and you will be the GOAT. Love you so much. Thankyou for giving your fans this beautiful gift.

  9. yes you did it champ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    unbelievable legend absoluty the legend this is so fucking great i am so happy for you and your family and team. Perfect goodbye present for toni nadal

  10. His level has dropped suddenly! Although I think he played better in the semis anyway.

    That’s it Rafa!!! Cmon a little more until the finish line and you are through to win!

  11. This is a schooling.

    Kevin is no slouch at the net. But Rafa is sth else.

    12-12 net points won for Rafa.

    But he’s just DFed for the 1st time in the match.

  12. LEADIN 6 : 3 6 : 3 2 : 0 INDEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) This a classy POWERFUL FINAL SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) KUDOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : )

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