Federer loss makes Nadal win 'not so special'

 

Rafael Nadal's coach has made a shock admission that takes some shine off the World No.1's US Open victory.

Rafa romped to a convincing victory over Kevin Anderson in the final at Flushing Meadows, dispatching the South African in straight sets.

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The easy win was somewhat of a theme for Nadal throughout the tournament as he managed to avoid playing anyone in the world top 20.

It was the first time since Pete Sampras won Wimbledon in 2000 that the champion hasn't had to play an opponent ranked 20th or lower.

Nadal and his US Open prize. Image: Getty

And for Rafa's coach and uncle Toni Nadal, that fact makes the victory "not so special."

The US Open was the final grand slam at which Toni, Nadal's long-time coach and inspiration, will join him, instead taking a role directing Nadal's youth academy.

But because the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawwrinka missed the tournament through injury, Toni says Rafa's win isn't up there with his best.

"For me it’s nothing special," he said

"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.

Toni and Rafa celebrate at the US Open. Image: Twitter

"But I think Rafael has played well and was the best of the people who has played."

Nadal's path to glory went through Dusan Lajovic, Taro Daniel, Leonardo Mayer, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Andrey Rublev, before he beat Juan Martin del Potro (28th seed) in the semi-finals.

Nadal and Federer looked likely to face off for the first time at the US Open in the semis before Del Potro caused a massive boilover by beating the Swiss great.

In his victory speech, Nadal reflected on what Toni has meant to his life in building the grit to overcome numerous knee injuries.

"Probably without him I'll never be playing tennis. I'm thankful I had somebody like him pushing me all the time," Nadal said.

"Because he gave me motivation I could get through all the problems I had in my career.

"I can only thank him for making me stronger."

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