WHAT HAPPENED?

Davis Cup
Rafael Nadal and his Spain team-mates get their hands on the Davis Cup
25/11/2019 AT 13:04

Rafael Nadal rounded off his unbeaten record in the 2019 Davis Cup to seal Spain's sixth title and a 2-0 win over Canada with a 6-4 7-6 victory over Denis Shapovalov in Madrid

The world number one, who won all eight of his rubbers he played this week, handed his country their first Davis Cup title since 2011 in style.

Nadal has now won his last 29 Davis Cup singles matches, and he never looked like losing to Shapovalov after Roberto Bautista Agut overcame Felix Auger-Aliassime in the opening rubber.

Highlights: Nadal completes perfect Davis Cup with final win

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HIS GREATEST YEAR YET?

33-year-old Nadal has once again defied expectation, bouncing back stronger than ever from a series of injuries that continue to threaten his dominance, and continue to fail.

And as he season ends with a Davis Cup, added to French and US open titles and a year-end world No. 1 spot, there's a strong case that this may be his finest year ever.

WHAT THEY SAY - 'His ability to improve has been amazing'

Feliciano Lopez, Nadal's doubles partner during Spain's Davis Cup victory, believes Nadal is on top of the tennis world right now.

"Rafa (Nadal) is so competitive," said Lopez. "He kept me in the doubles match on Saturday, he had a tremendous adrenaline and in the second set I was worse, he was still supporting me, giving me the strength I needed, being focused.

"You suffer a lot. He is the number one on all aspects."

His coach Carlos Moya agrees that Nadal has had a near perfect experience.

“His season was 9.9 out of 10,” Moya said at the Davis Cup.

After going through all that happened earlier in the year, winning two Grand Slams and ending as a world No. 1 is something unbelievable.

“In 2008 he was No 1, in 2019 he is so he totally evolved physically, mentally, game-wise, playing with new opponents. His ability to improve has been amazing.”

2019 VS 2010

Nadal has previously called 2010 his best year in the sport, and his achievements nine years ago are certainly impressive.

As in 2019, Nadal took home the French and US Open titles, but also won Wimbledon and four other calendar titles.

Rafael Nadal with the Wimbledon trophy in 2010

Image credit: PA Sport

But 2010 was a 24-year-old Nadal at the peak of his powers. That he is still dominating on the world stage almost a decade later after a number of injuries gives weight to the claim that while 2019 may not be as trophy-laden, the fact he has dominated an emerging generation of young players as well as the evergreen old guard of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic may make it even more impressive.

NADAL'S PLACE AMONG TOP THREE

When it comes to Grand Slams, Nadal's haul of 19 sits between Federer's 20 and Djokovic's 16.

Few would doubt Nadal's chances of overhauling Federer's 20 given the Spaniard's dominance of the French Open, but it's that same monopolisation of one slam that can polarise critics who argue that Federer and Djokovic's more well-rounded slam domination gives them greater claims to being the best.

Nadal currently sits on 19 Grand Slam titles

Image credit: Eurosport

But another year like 2019 could put Nadal on a different level, while another Australian Open or Wimbledon title would do wonders for his already supreme legacy.

Whatever happens next, 2019 has been a remarkable year for a remarkable player at the top of his game with no signs of slowing. Expect more of the same in 2020.

Davis Cup
'I could not be happier' - Nadal delighted to overcome adversity to win Davis Cup
24/11/2019 AT 20:47
Davis Cup
Highlights: Nadal completes perfect Davis Cup with final win
24/11/2019 AT 20:46