Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni has played down how special his US Open triumph was in the absence of a meeting with tennis’ other top stars Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
The World No. 1 — who didn’t face a top 50 opponent at the US Open until the semifinals — cantered to his 16th Grand Slam title with a comfortable straight sets win over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in Sunday’s final.
The men’s draw in New York was without many of its top talent. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori were all missing & didn’t take part in US Open Grand Slam.
Briton Murray, the 2012 Flushing Meadows champion, pulled out of the tournament days before it started, leaving a big hole in the bottom half of the draw.
As a result, South African Kevin Anderson made his way to the final but he was never in contention against World No 1 Rafael Nadal, who clinched his 16th Grand Slam title.
After beating Dusan Lajovic, Taro Daniel, Leonardo Mayer, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Andrey Rublev, Nadal was then due to face Federer but the Swiss was dumped out by Juan Martin del Potro to face the top seed in the semi-finals.
Nadal enjoyed comfortable wins over the Argentine and then Kevin Anderson to lift the title and end his working relationship with his uncle on a high.
Toni is stepping down from his nephew’s coaching team, leaving Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig to travel alongside Nadal throughout the year.
But while it was nice to end his partnership with his nephew with a Grand Slam title, Uncle Toni admitted it wasn’t that special for him.
‘For me it’s nothing special [to finish with a victory],’ 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.
‘But I think Rafael has played well and was the best of the people who has played.’