The relentlessness of Rafael Nadal must scare his opponents to death. There he was Monday night in the 2010 U.S. Open men's final, in all black, spraying bull-whip ground strokes all over the court. Second-seed Novak Djokovic, despite his effort, didn't stand a chance.
In the end, the top-seeded Nadal prevailed, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. The victory clinched both Nadal's first U.S. Open title and the career Grand Slam. He joins Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Rod Laver, Fred Perry, Don Budge and Roy Emerson as the only other men to win all four majors. (The last three accomplished the feat before the open era.) It's scary to think that Nadal, now a nine-time Grand Slam champion, is only 24. He's won the last three majors and doesn't look to be slowing down.
The final, not quite a classic but not a blowout either, was painfully drawn out. After a rainout made playing Sunday impossible, thunderstorms rolled in Monday, causing a two-hour delay. CBS, in a panic, had to bail and hand coverage over to ESPN2.
Djokovic, who played the match of his life against Roger Federer in the semis, benefited from the breaks, but it didn't matter. In the final game of the match, after Nadal sprinted to hit a dipping passing shot, Djokovic stopped, smiled, and threw his hands up in the air, as if to say, "What the hell can I do about that?"
Djokovic wasn't the first, and won't be the last Nadal opponent to feel that way.