Rafael Nadal won the 2019 US Open, defeating Daniil Medvedev (7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4). With the victory, Nadal has now won 19 career Grand Slam titles, just one behind Roger Federer. Nadal has won two of the last three US Opens and 4 US Opens in his career.
Earlier this year Nadal won his third consecutive French Open (12th overall) and is five years younger than Federer so the question isn’t “if” he’ll catch Federer, but when. Federer hasn’t won a Grand Slam event since the 2018 Australian Open and has “only” won three since 2017. In the same time frame, Nadal has now won five.
There will be a number of obstacles in Nadal’s way to becoming the all-time Grand Slam champion. First, he still has to fight off Federer, who is past his prime, but will have every crowd in his corner. Then there’s Novak Djokovic, three Grand Slams back, who is a year younger and has won four of the last six Grand Slam titles. And finally, any number of younger players like Medvedev trying to knock off the three legends. It will be a few years before we know who ends up on top of tennis’ most illustrious list.