Rafael Nadal won his 16th men's singles Grand Slam title at the recently concluded US Open. It was his second of the 2017 season, a big achievement considering his last major title came in 2014 after which he has struggled with injury.
It was his first hard court title in 35 attempts with his last win coming at the Qatar Open in January 2014. Nadal's win at Flushing Meadows also strengthened his position as the world number one, another achievement coming after a gap of three years.
Despite the landmarks achieved after being crowned US Open champion, his long-time coach cum uncle Toni Nadal believes the win was not special especially since his nephew did not play any of the top players on his way to the title.
Nadal played the likes of Alexandr Dolgopolov, youngster Andrey Rublev, Juan Martin del Potro, who is returning from injury and 28th seed and first time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson on his way to the title. The 31-year-old's coach believes his opponents were good players but not the top stars of the game today.
Roger Federer was part of the draw and was on course for a meeting with the Spaniard in the semifinal, but lost to Del Potro in the quarter-finals. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, on the other hand, were absent owing to injury. The trio will not play again in 2017 after cutting their season short to focus on recovering from their respective injuries.
"For me it's nothing special [to finish with a victory]," Toni Nadal said, as quoted by the Metro. "No different than the other times when he won tournament of the Grand Slam."
"This tournament was different because we play against Dolgopolov, Rublev, good players but not the top.
"I don't want to say anything bad for our opponents but this time some [got injured] before playing – Murray, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Nishikori, Raonic. And then Federer lose," he explained.
"But I think Rafael has played well and was the best of the people who has played."