Nadal reluctant to talk about Federer record

Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:19am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With the U.S. Open trophy tucked safely under his arms and the world of tennis at his feet, Rafa Nadal answered the one question everybody was asking with a shy grin.

"I think talking about if I am better or worse than Roger (Federer) is stupid," he protested. "Because the titles say he's much better than me, so that's true at that moment. I think that will be true all my life."

Federer, 29, has a record 16 grand slam championships, but the 24-year-old Nadal made his ninth grand slam triumph something extra special.

The 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic of Serbia for his first Flushing Meadows win made Nadal the seventh man to claim all four of the sport's grand slam titles, and the first since Rod Laver 41 years ago to close a season with wins at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. championship.

The question, however, still remained.

Almost from the moment he stepped onto the court as a teenager raised on dusty red Spanish clay courts, Nadal has been answering the same question: Was he going to be the greatest player of all time?

Nadal's New York performance made a huge statement.

After piling up five French Opens, two Wimbledons and an Australian Open the hard-hitting left-hander had set his sights firmly on the final jewel in the grand slam crown.   Continued...