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Rafa Nadal: "I play tennis because it makes me happy"

Worn out after his epìc battle with Daniil Medvedev in New York, Rafa Nadal attended the Spanish media before swiftly returning home to Manacor.

Rafa Nadal: "I play tennis because it makes me happy"

Physically exhausted after his epìc battle with Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, Rafa Nadal attended the Spnaish media before swiftly returning home to Manacor.

Gruelling, five-hour battle

The final was an emotional rollercoster ride, what does it mean to you to have managed the enormous pressure and go on to win the game?

The last three hours of the game (which lasted just under five hours and ended 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6 6-4) were very very intense. It was very tough mentally and physically. That video which they showed at the end (Nadal was in tears as he watched images of his 19 Grand Slams on the large video screen at the Arthur Ashe stadium), the public... All of that made it a very special moment, unforgettable. Medvedev also helped to make it special. He played and battled like a champions. He's got a great future ahead of him. I think he is going to win Grand Slams, a couple at the very least. His career is looking really good.

Do you think Medvedev represents a future without the 'Big Three' - you, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic?

I think the transition started a while ago but the three of us are still here. We keep fighting for what motivates us.

How would you describe your achievement? Logging your fourth US Open crown...

The game turned very dramatic towards the end and that's what makes it unforgettable, a part of my history in this sport. This trophy means everything to me. The way I managed to get through all of the difficult moments gives me great personal satisfaction. I tried to contain my emotions, but it was impossible.

Emotional release

What was going through your mind when you watch that video?

How old we're all becoming (smiles)! Although in a way, that's a good thing. I saw all the things I've been through and I'm still here... I've had diffiuclt momentos - especially with the physical problems I've had. When you're not well physically, the mental part gets harder. My emotions got the better of me while I was watching that video - a lot of moments ran through my mind. When you are shown something like that, you realise the extent of the road you've been on - the journey you've taken and with all of the the tiredness and mental exertion, my emotions just came out.

You now have won 19 Grand Slams. Fans continue to follow your career - and Federer's and Djokovic's. - what do you think about the competition you have between you?

I'd love to be the one who has won the most, but it's not something I consciously think about; I just keep training every day so that I can keep playing. I do it because I love it. I can't think only about Grand Slams - tennis is much more than that. I need to think about everything else as well. I play tennis because it makes me feel happy. If the competition we have is attractive for the fans and creates interest, that's good for the sport and I feel very honoured to be part of that battle we are involved in. But as I say, you can't spend the whole day thinking about someone else or wondering if someone has more than you because that will only make you feel frustrated. Everything I have achieved in my career is much more than what I every dreamed about. I'd love to be the one who has won the most Slams, sure. But I honestly don't think I will be happier or less happy if that happens or not. What makes you happy is the satisfaction of knowing that you have given the best you have to give. In that aspect, I have no qualms at all.