“I’ve been watching you my whole life. You are one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport” – Anderson to Nadal/ Twitter

World number one tennis player, Rafael Nadal captured his 16th career Grand Slam title and third at the US Open after defeating Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s men’s final.

Nadal, who also won titles here in 2010 and 2013, was playing in his third Grand Slam final this year.

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He also reached the championship matches at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, where he won a record 10th career title.

The 31-year-old Spaniard is now 16-7 lifetime in major finals and has won two Grand Slam titles in the same season for the fourth time in his career (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017).

He picks up his first hard-court singles title since January 2014, when he won the championship in Doha.

Rafael Nadal was later handed his $3.7m winner’s cheque in a rather underwhelming plain small envelope.

This is the highest prize in tennis history along with last night’s women’s final.

Nadal has now closed the gap on Roger Federer at the top of the list of the most successful male Grand Slam singles players of all time. He is just three shy of Federer’s 19.

 

Each year winner

Between 2005 and 2014, Nadal won at least one major title each year.

Rafael Nadal reacts to beating Kevin Anderson in the Men’s Singles Final at the 2017 US Open/Twitter

That decade-long run ended in 2015 and was replicated in 2016, leaving some to question how much was left in the Spaniard’s once-indefatigable tank.

But a record 10th title on the Parisian clay earlier this year gave him his first major trophy in three years, and now he is biting the handle of his second Slam silverware of the past three months.

Nadal has now won at least two majors in the same year four different times. He won the French Open and Wimbledon in 2008, the final three Grand Slams of the year in 2010 and the French Open and US Open in 2013.

Road to victory

Nadal’s road to victory at the conclude 2017 US Open is listed below.

First round: beat Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) 7-6 (7-6) 6-2 6-2

Second round: beat Taro Daniel (Japan) 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2

Third round: beat Leonardo Mayer (Argentina) 6-7 (7-3) 6-3 6-1 6-4

Fourth round: beat Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) 6-2 6-4 6-1

Quarter-finals: beat Andrey Rublev (Russia) 6-1 6-2 6-2

Semi-finals: beat Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2

Final: beat Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 6-3 6-3 6-4