As Daniil Medvedev's serve return landed long, Rafael Nadal went down in a heap having clinched his 19th Grand Slam title and his fourth at US Open. Thus ended a decade of Grand Slam tennis on the ATP Tour with Nadal getting one title closer to Roger Federer's 20. A decade that began with Federer beating Andy Murray in straight sets to win the Australian Open finishes with one of his closest rivals and a person who he shares great relationship with inching closer to his all-time record.
In the decade that went by, the 'Big 3' dominated with titles and forays into the final Sunday of a major. Novak Djokovic clinched two titles in 2019 and is now three behind Nadal and four behind Federer. Staggeringly, when the decade began, Djokovic had just 1 to his name.
Nadal, after the US Open, stressed he's more concerned with extending his career as long and as well as possible than he is setting a major win record. "I would love to be the one who wins more, but I am not thinking and I'm not going to practice every day or playing tennis for it," Nadal said. "I'm playing tennis because I love to play tennis. I can't just think about Grand Slams. Tennis is more than Grand Slams. I need to think about the rest of the things. I play to be happy. Of course, the victory makes me super happy."
The dominance of the top 3 can be further highlighted by their presence in the final Sunday. One of the three have played final of each slam except 2014 US Open (Marin Cilic vs Kei Nishikori) and 2016 Wimbledon (Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic). For the younger players, it has been demoralising with the trio swatting them away with no fuss. Three players born in the 1990's have gone to the final and lost each time - Raonic lost at 2016 Wimbledon, Dominic Thiem lost twice to Nadal at French Open in 2018 and 2019 and now Medvedev to Nadal.
A look back at how the last decade unfolded and went by for men's tennis.