Nadal has eyes on surpassing Federer as he closes in on 19th grand slam title

Federer holds the men’s all-time record of 20 grand slam victories.

By Press Association Published: 7 September 2019 - 2.31pm

US Open

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal knows the door is open for him to overhaul Roger Federer and become the all-time grand slam record holder.

Nadal is favourite to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s US Open final and lift a 19th major trophy.

Federer holds the all-time men’s record of 20 grand slams and at 38 his opportunities to win another are waning, making the two match points the Swiss great squandered against Novak Djokovic in the this year’s Wimbledon final all the harder to bear.

Roger Federer, right, was beaten by novak Djokovic, left, in a close-fought Wimbledon final
Roger Federer, right, was beaten by novak Djokovic, left, in a close-fought Wimbledon final (Victoria Jones/PA)

Djokovic remains on 16 and while he will fancy his chances in Australia in January, Nadal will be odds on to pick up a 13th French Open title next summer.

Fitness permitting, the 33-year-old Spaniard has at least a couple more Roland Garros wins in him, so he is well aware victory at Flushing Meadows – where Djokovic, 32, was a big favourite until injury got the better of him – could be hugely significant when the final silverware is totted up.

“Yes, but I always say the same – we’re still playing,” said Nadal. “Here we are.

“When I arrived here, my goal was to produce a chance to compete for the big thing again. Here I am.

Men's grand slam titles

  • Roger Federer - 20
  • Rafael Nadal - 18
  • Novak Djokovic - 16
  • Pete Sampras - 14
  • Roy Emerson - 12

“I’ve given myself another chance, as I did at Wimbledon, as I did in Australia, as I did at Roland Garros. That’s the personal satisfaction. That’s the personal happiness.

“You win, you lose. That’s part of all the sport. Of course, I would love to be the one who achieve more grand slams, but I still sleep very well without being the one who has more grand slams.

“I’m happy about my career. I’m very happy about what I’m doing. I’m going to keep working hard to try to produce chances. Sunday is one. It’s just one more chance, that’s all.

“My opponents are going to keep playing. If I’m able to win on Sunday, OK, it will be amazing. If I lose, I hope to keep having chances in the future to add things.

“But it’s true, I would love to be the one to have more, yes, but you cannot be frustrated all day thinking about what your neighbour has that is better than you.

“You have to be happy with yourself. You have to do it your way. If you are the one to achieve more, fantastic. If not, at least I gave my best during all my career. That’s all.”

Nadal beat Matteo Berrettini in straight sets in the semi-final and now faces another big-serving 23-year-old in Medvedev.

The fifth seed knows the size of the task he faces in his first grand slam final.

“He’s one of the greatest champions in the history of our sport,” said Medvedev.

“He’s just a machine, a beast on the court. The energy he’s showing is just amazing.

“To play him in your first final should be, I want to say, a funny thing. It’s not going to be a funny thing, but it’s going to be an amazing thing.”