Rafael Nadal raced to a third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown, on Sunday, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 rout of South African giant Kevin Anderson.
For Nadal, it was his fifth title of the year and 74th of his career while the US$3.7 million (€3.07 million) winner’s prize boosted his earnings to a shade under US$90 million.
“It’s a very special two weeks for me. It’s unbelievable what’s happened this year after some seasons with serious injuries and not playing very well,” said Nadal.
“It’s been an emotional year since the Australian Open. I played a high level of tennis and winning here in New York again it’s unbelievable.”
Nadal also praised his coach and uncle Toni who has coached him since he was three but who will step down from his team at the end of the year.
“I cannot thank him enough,” said the champion. “Without him I would not be here playing tennis. He gave me strength and motivation. When I had injury problems I got through them because of him.”
It was a desperately disappointing afternoon for Anderson, the world number 32 playing in his maiden Slam final at the 34th attempt.
He was the first South African in a US championship final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965 and was bidding to become his country’s first Slam champion since Johan Kriek at the 1981 Australian Open.
The Johannesburg-born, Florida-based Anderson finished the 2hr 28min final with 40 unforced errors to Nadal’s 11, failing even to carve out a single break point.
Nadal, winning his first hardcourt title since January 2014 in Doha, gave up just 15 points on his serve and won 16 out of 16 net points.