Djokovic stands in way of Nadal's elusive slam

Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:38am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic is all that stands between Rafa Nadal and his official crowning as one of the game's greatest all-round players.

If Nadal wins Sunday's U.S. Open final against Djokovic, the Spaniard will join a select band of seven men who have won all four grand slam titles. And at 24, he will be the second youngest to achieve the feat.

Nadal has never played in the U.S. Open final before but the odds of winning are heavily stacked in his favor.

The world number one has won 14 of his previous 21 matches against Djokovic and is in the best form of his life.

"I feel great. For me, it's a pleasure being here," Nadal said after beating Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-3 6-4 in Saturday's semi-finals.

Nadal won this year's French Open for a fifth time. A month later he won his second Wimbledon crown. If he wins Sunday's U.S. Open final he will become the first man to win those three titles in the same year since Australia's Rod Laver in 1969.

"It's not a dream, because a dream is to win the tournament," Nadal said. "But it is a very, very important tournament for me to be in the final."

Most significantly, the lefthander has arrived in New York in the best shape of his career.   Continued...

<p>Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts to losing a point against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>