Rafael Nadal's Roger Cup win over Daniil Medvedev shows he's more effective on hard courts than clay — a good omen for the US Open.
- Rafael Nadal won his third ATP title of 2019 after demolishing Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in Montreal, winning the Rogers Cup in style.
- His success on hard court elevates his winning percentage on the surface, and sees him enjoy success on any court this year regardless of whether it is clay, grass, or hard.
- With his injury problems behind him and having moved into first place in the ATP's Race to London, Nadal is in an excellent place to close the year on a high — as the world's number one male player.
- The only one who could provide any competition to Nadal is Novak Djokovic, and the pair may renew their rivalry at the upcoming US Open later this month.
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Rafael Nadal is proving to be the male tennis player of the year after mercilessly beating Daniil Medvedev to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday.
It was the fifth time Nadal had won the Canadian Open (Rogers Cup), and he did so this time with ease, hammering Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 in just 70 minutes.
"It's so important to be back on a hard court and win again, another big title," he said after the event, according to Forbes.
Victory in the Masters-level tournament earned him 1,000 ranking points and saw him become the no.1 player in ATP's Race to London, a good indicator of who will finish the year as the world's number one player.
After winning a third ATP title, adding the Canadian Masters to the French Open and Rome Masters events he won earlier this summer, the 33-year-old is enjoying extraordinary success at a critical part of the season.
He now heads into the 2019 US Open, the last Grand Slam event of the year, armed with form and confidence. As he is skipping the Cincinnati Masters, he will even be rested in time for his appearance at Flushing Meadows, which starts on August 26.
More than a clay king
What's more, his mauling of Medvedev further highlights that Nadal isn't just a clay court specialist.
Yes, he's the clay master. A 12-time French Open champion doesn't win a dozen titles at Roland Garros without warranting that status.
However, Nadal has also been remarkably consistent on all courts, and has a superior record on hard courts this season than he does on dirt.
Nadal is 21 wins against three losses on clay (87.5% wins), five wins against one loss on grass (83% wins), and 15 wins against two losses (88.2%) on hard courts in 2019, according to the ATP — an overall win percentage of 87.2% on all surfaces.
To put that into context, Djokovic is second-best to Nadal when it comes to clay success (83% wins) and hard courts (81% wins). The only area the Serbian tops the Spaniard is on grass, where Djokovic is seven matches unbeaten this season because of his march to the 2019 Wimbledon Championships title.
The bulk of Nadal's 2019 success has come in the summer months as he has put his injury problems, particularly with his knee, behind him. And, on hard courts, he has been optimizing his service game while improving his return. He is fit, injury-free, and confident.
The race to end the year as the world's number one male player appears to be contested exclusively between Nadal, who has two Masters titles and one major this year, and Djokovic, who has two majors and one Masters title.
But it is Nadal who has been more consistent, finishing higher and losing less frequently in events one rung below the year's four marquee competitions. Nadal is 19 wins against two losses in Masters events this season, a greater record than Djokovic, who is 13 against four.
Should Nadal beat Djokovic en route to a second Grand Slam title of the year, he will only fortify his status as the favorite to finish 2019 as the world's best male player.
Even if Djokovic wins, there is still time for Nadal to rescue his season, win more ranking points, and leapfrog the Serbian once again.