The Norman Transcript

Sports

September 10, 2013

Better than ever

NEW YORK — Hard to believe this is the same Rafael Nadal who was home during the U.S. Open a year ago, nursing a bad left knee.

Hard to believe this is the guy sent packing in the first round of Wimbledon in June, losing against someone ranked 135th.

Looking fit as can be and maybe even better than ever, the No. 2-ranked Nadal pulled away from No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Monday in a taut, tense U.S. Open final for his 13th Grand Slam title.

“Very, very emotional, no?” Nadal said during the on-court trophy presentation. “Probably only my team knows how much (this) means for me.”

They started in sunlight and finished at night, a 3-hour, 21-minute miniseries of cliffhangers and plot twists and a pair of protagonists who inspired standing ovations in the middle of games.

“Probably nobody brings my game to the limit like Novak,” said Nadal, who collected $3.6 million in prize money, including a $1 million bonus for results during the North American hard-court circuit.

There was no quit in either of them, during points that lasted 15, 25, even more than 50 strokes. Those rallies went so long, rarely over when they appeared to be, and spectators often shouted out during the course of play, prompting Nadal to complain to the chair umpire.

This was their 37th match against each other, the most between any two men in the Open era, and Nadal has won 22. It also was their third head-to-head U.S. Open final in the last four years. Nadal beat Djokovic for the 2010 title, and Djokovic won their rematch in 2011.

They know each other’s games so well, and play such similar hustle-to-every-ball styles, but in the end, it was Nadal who was superior.

“He was too good. He definitely deserved to win this match today and this trophy,” Djokovic said. “Obviously disappointing to lose a match like this.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Clash Football It’s a whole new ball game for Tigers and Timberwolves

    With just over two weeks until football practice officially begins Aug. 11, everyone is busy preparing for the upcoming season. After all, it’s one that will be unlike any other....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brace yourselves for what is likely bumpy road to playoffs

    In October of 2005, back when Butch Peters had Norman High ranked No. 5 on the gridiron and Karin Sexson had Norman North ranked No. 1 on the volleyball court, I wrote a column under the headline: “Two great teams … Who cares.” It was all ...

    July 30, 2014

  • USA Basketball Durant tells media that he’s not looking too far ahead

    While most of the NBA’s offseason has been focused on players going home, max contracts and who gets Kevin Love, the reigning MVP has been pretty low key. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has stayed in the shadows for the most part while ...

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cody adds former champions Maple, Howe as assistants

    A great wrestler doesn’t necessarily make a great wrestling coach. On the other hand, it’s not a bad place to start....

    July 30, 2014

  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014

  • Romo skips full-pad session for the first time at camp

    OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo’s back....

    July 30, 2014

  • Vikings hire help for Kluwe talks

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have hired the attorney who investigated the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and another who played a prominent role in the fight for marriage equality to help in settlement talks with former punter ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Cards’ Abraham charged with DUI

    ATLANTA — Authorities say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team’s training camp since Friday....

    July 30, 2014

Facebook