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Toni Nadal watches on as his nephew wins his 16th Grand Slam championship.

Toni Nadal: "To Win 16 Grand Slams Is Incredible"

The uncle and coach of Rafael Nadal weighs up his victory at the 2017 US Open

It has been a fairytale season for Rafael Nadal, winning his 10th Roland Garros crown, returning to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and now, on Sunday night in New York, capturing his 16th Grand Slam championship at the US Open. In the eyes of his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, it is an incredible feat.

"When he was 12, 13 or 14, you never think he will get to this level," said Nadal. "I am very happy to see my nephew lift so many trophies, knowing that he has achieved another piece of history. He has won a hard-court tournament for the first time since 2014. We are very happy that he has won another Grand Slam, his 16th, and is in a position to fight for No. 1."

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The US Open champion of 2010, 2013 and 2017 hadn't triumphed on hard courts since 2014 Doha (d. Monfils). Since then, he had contested 34 hard-court tournaments without success. This year, he was beaten in the finals of the Australian Open, Acapulco and Miami.

Nadal's victory at Flushing Meadows gives him a healthy lead over Roger Federer in the year-to-date standings as the two prepare to battle it out for the year-end No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Nadal has 9,365 points to Federer's 7,505. "He has a lead of almost 2,000 points," said Toni Nadal. "We will see what happens at the end of the year, though, with tournaments that usually favour Federer.

"At indoor hard-court tournaments, like Basel, Paris or the Nitto ATP Finals, Federer has the advantage. But I think that Rafael's level is high enough to do well in those events," said Toni Nadal.

Nadal's victory at the US Open rounded out the dominance that he and Federer have enjoyed once again in 2017, splitting the four Grand Slams between them in a season where both were coming back from injuries and loss of form. "It was unimaginable that would happen, of course," said Toni Nadal. "But I had faith that Rafael would win one more Grand Slam, I tell you truthfully."

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