With the 55th and last swing on the longest of many long points in the U.S. Open final, Rafael Nadal pushed a backhand into the net to get broken by Novak Djokovic.
It could have been the beginning of the end for many players.
Not for Nadal, who is as resilient as they come. A year after watching the Flushing Meadows title match on TV at home with a bad left knee, he is fit as can be — and, just maybe, better than ever.
The No. 2-ranked Nadal emerged with his 13th Grand Slam title, and second at the U.S. Open, by withstanding No. 1 Djokovic’s similar brand of hustle-to-every-ball style and pulling away Monday to a tense, taut 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.
“This season is probably the most emotional one in my career. I felt that I did everything right to have my chance here,” said Nadal, who dropped to the court and rolled over on his stomach, crying, after the last point, during the on-court trophy presentation. “I have to be almost perfect to win.” (Photo: Julie Jacobson/The Associated Press)