The King of Clay has once again assumed his throne — this time on a hard court.
Rafael Nadal won his third US Open and 16th career grand slam title Sunday, beating No. 28 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.
Nadal further solidified his standing as the world’s No. 1 male player and trails only Roger Federer, who has 19 major titles, on the all-time men’s grand slam singles list.
Nadal’s 23 career appearances in slam finals also are second to Federer, who has 29.
“It’s just unbelievable what happened this year, no?” Nadal said on the court after the win.
This win also signals the end of an era, as it’s Nadal’s final major with his uncle, Toni, as his coach. Toni Nadal is stepping aside to focus on his work at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain.
Carlos Moya, a former world No. 1, joined Nadal’s coaching team in December.
At age 31, Anderson was the oldest first-time grand slam tournament finalist since Nikola Pilic (33) at the 1973 French Open.
Nadal dominated the match overall. He never faced a break point and finished with 11 unforced errors to Anderson’s 40. Nadal also won all of his net points, with 16.
The two players are just 16 days apart in age and have known each other since they competed together on the youth tennis circuit two decades ago.