US Open: No-one will repeat Novak’s 2011 heroics, claims Nadal
Rafael Nadal believes Novak Djokovic's achievements this year will be “probably impossible to repeat” after losing his US Open title to the world number one.
Djokovic won a stunning final at Flushing Meadows in four sets against Nadal to claim an incredible third grand slam title of the year and fourth of his career.
Nadal, beaten for the sixth time in a final by the Serb in 2011, was gutted to lose. Typically though he was sincere in defeat.
“Obviously I'm disappointed but this guy is doing unbelievable things so congratulations Novak and your team for everything.
“What you did this year is probably impossible to repeat.
“I try my best in every moment, these kind of matches are very difficult, it brings your body to the limit.
“I tried to play great but he always makes a fantastic comeback. That's tennis, I tried my best and am happy with what I did. I ran to every ball and fought until the last ball.
“This year I lost a lot of finals against him but I won a lot in the past and the only thing I can do is try my best every day to keep improving and for sure I will come back next year and try my best.”
Djokovic now holds the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles after becoming only the sixth man in the open era to win three of the four majors in the same year.
The 24-year-old spent most of his acceptance speech paying tribute to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks after yesterday's 10th anniversary.
But speaking about his achievements, he added: “It's an incredible, incredible feeling.
“I've had an amazing year and it keeps going but every time I play Rafa it's a big challenge and I want to congratulate him on a great tournament.
“I wish we have many more tough matches in upcoming years.”
On his amazing success in the Grand Slam tournaments this year, Djokovic stated: “Something just clicked. I'm more aggressive and I have a different approach to the semi-finals and finals of major events.”
He added: “I am not invincible. I just think a positive attitude keeps you on top of your game when you go on court.
“Of course I want to win more majors and prove things to myself. It would be unbelievable to complete the Grand Slam. I need to win the French Open, but I think it will take time.”
Djokovic explained why he felt he had taken such a leap forward in 2011: “Last year I made the final but I could have easily lost in the first round. I overcame that. I needed those tough matches to get confidence and the belief that I could win the majors.
“In the previous years, I hadn't changed my game in any big way and my strokes were still the same.
“I would wait for players to make mistakes. I didn't have the positive attitude. That has changed now.”
Djokovic looked set for a more comfortable win when he led 6-5 in an epic third set featuring numerous breaks of serve, only to be broken again and forced into a tie-break.
Nadal stormed into a 5-1 lead and, after Djokovic dragged it back to 5-3, some questionable shot selection from the Serbian gave Nadal three set points, the first of which he converted when Djokovic powered a forehand into the net.
Nadal looked to be on a roll, but Djokovic defied the odds to break for a 2-0 lead on his fifth break point. The Serb was rejuvenated and broke Nadal again in the sixth game for a 5-1 lead and a second chance to serve out for the title.