This year’s Grand Slam season has come to an end with the conclusion of the fourth and final tournament on the list. In the US Open held in Flushing Meadows, Queens, all eyes were drawn to the men’s singles, which originally promised a showdown between the trinity of top men’s tennis champions today: Roger Federer of Switzerland, Andy Murray of Great Britain and Rafael Nadal of Spain. That dream battle was dashed when Murray withdrew from competition, and ruined further at the quarterfinals when Federer suffered an upset loss. With his fellow pillars out of the running, Nadal became the biggest fish in the US Open Men’s Singles pond, as evidenced by his stirring victory and 16th title.

Splitting the Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal is a tennis player that specialized in clay courts. But just because he favors one playing surface in the sport does not mean he will be disadvantaged on anything else, like the hard courts of the US Open. To prove that, the Spanish tennis superstar has prevailed in New York City twice before: in 2010 and 2013. On Sunday, September 10, Rafael Nadal, the tournament’s first seed, cemented his triumphs for 2017 by defeating 28th seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa, sweeping three sets at 6-3, 6-3, and 6-4. Anderson has never beaten Nadal and now has a 0-5 record to him.

By winning the 2017 Us Open, Nadal claims his 16th career Grand Slam title and solidified his World Ranking as the number male tennis player.

This year he splits the number of major wins with Roger Federer, with him getting US and French Open titles while his Swiss rival scooped up the Australian Open (beating Nadal in the championship to boot) and Wimbledon. Federer however, still has a lead in both Grand Slam victories over the Spaniard (having 19 in all) as well as Grand Slam appearances (29 to Nadal’s 23).

Momentous events

While the anticipated Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer rival match never materialized anew in it, the 2017 US Open still managed to lay down a few milestones in Open-era professional tennis. The Spaniard’s final opponent, South African Kevin Anderson, came into the Men’s singles championship as the oldest first-timer (31 years old) since the record holder Nikola Pilic in the 1973 Frenc Open.

He was 33. Anderson and Nadal have competed against one another since back when they were in the youth tennis leagues.

At the same time, this US Open will be the major tournament where Nadal is being coached by his uncle Toni. After this, the elder Nadal steps down for new Coach (and former No. 1) Carlos Moya, while he goes to work at his nephew’s tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain.