Spain’s Rafael Nadal defeated #Kevin Anderson on Sunday at New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium and earned a smashing victory in the Men’s Single of the #US Open. For the “King of Clay,” this was his third US Open win and his 16th Grand Slam title. For Anderson, it was the first time in 33 years that a South African made it to a major singles final.

Nadal vs. Anderson

For the seventh time in an Opens Era, a grand slam final took place between two players over the age of 30 and for the fifth straight grand slam the winner is over 30 years old. In 2016 Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka defeated Serbia’s, Novak Djokovic.

Before reaching the finals on Sunday, Nadal faced Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals.

It was a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 battle between both men.

For Nadal and Anderson, it was a repeat of history in that on each of the five occasions when they came up against each other Nadal secured the victory. All in all their interaction on Sunday showed Nadal dominating throughout and beating Anderson 6-3, 6-3 and 6-4. Compared to Anderson’s 40 unforced errors, Nadal finished with 11. He did not face any break points and also won all 16 of his net points.

In speaking to Nadal after the game, Anderson said, "I know we're the same age, but I feel like I've been watching you my whole life. You've been an idol of mine.” He continued by saying, “It's tough playing you. You proved it again tonight. You're one of the great ambassadors of our sport."

With an age difference of just 16 days, both players have known each other for the past two decades, and the youth tennis circuit was when they first competed together.

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What does this mean for Nadal?

Having won 3 US Opens - 2010, 2013 and this latest success in 2017- this victory solidifies Nadal’s position as the World’s No. 1 player, and his 16 Grand Slams means that he is second to only Switzerland’s Roger Federer. On the all-time men’s grand slam singles list Federer has 19 major titles. Regarding career appearances, he is also second to Federer. While Nadal has made 23 career appearances, for Federer his career appearances stand at 29.

By winning two major titles this year Nadal’s victory means that he and Federer who also has two major wins this year have created added distance to the grand slams all-time title list. Nadal and Federer’s grand slams count of 16 and 19 respectively gain added distance to 14 wins by America’s Pete Sampras and 12 from Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is tied at 12 with Australia’s Roy Emerson.

“For me, what is more important, more than winning slams is to be happy,” said the 31-year- old Spaniard, “I am happy if I am healthy, and happy if I feel competitive and that’s what happened this year.”

When the “King of Clay” is healthy, he is happy, and great things happen. The question it raises is “What is next for him?” #Rafael Nadal