NEW YORK — Rafael Nadal shrugged his shoulders once, twice, three times. If his words weren’t going to make his position clear, his body language would.
The question: Would he like to end up with the record for most Grand Slam titles won by a man? The answer, essentially: Yes, of course.
And if he doesn’t?
“I would love to be the one to have more, yes, but you cannot be all day frustrated or all day thinking about what your neighbor has better than you,” the 33-year-old Spaniard said after reaching the U.S. Open final to give himself a shot at another major championship. “You have to be happy with yourself. You have to do your way. If you are the one to achieve more, fantastic. If not, at least I give my best during all my career. That’s all.”
If he can beat Daniil Medvedev on Sunday at Flushing Meadows, Nadal will collect his fourth trophy in New York. Of more historical significance is that it would move him within one title of rival Roger Federer in the Slam standings.
Federer leads the way with 20, Nadal is next with 18 and Novak Djokovic has 16.
Photo: Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
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“I am happy about my career. I am very happy about what I’m doing. I’m going to keep working hard to try to produce chances,” Nadal said. “Sunday is one. It’s just one more chance, that’s all.”
In addition to his three U.S. Open triumphs, Nadal owns 12 titles from the French Open, two from Wimbledon and one from the Australian Open.
This will be the 27th Grand Slam final of the No. 2-seeded Nadal’s career, and the first for No. 5 Medvevev, as 23-year-old from Russia.
The 6-foot-6 Medvedev had never been past the fourth round at a major until now.
“We’re going to prepare this like a normal match, because that’s how Daniil is thinking. I would not talk about ‘first final’ or stuff like that, because it won’t help him,” said Medvedev’s coach, Gilles Cervara
Medvedev enters having gone 20-2 during the North American hard-court swing and reaching the final at each of his past four tournaments. That includes a runner-up finish to Nadal at the Montreal Masters in August by a 6-3, 6-0 score.
“We have to try to do good things to beat him,” said one of Nadal’s coaches, Francisco Roig, who then added with a laugh: “I’m not going to tell you which things.”
Howard Fendrich is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/In-US-Open-final-Nadal-seeks-19th-major-14422208.php.