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Nadal Wins Epic US Open Final. Is The Spanish Bull Now The GOAT?

With this triumph, Rafael Nadal is just one Grand Slam short of Roger Federer's tally of 20 Grand Slams.

By beating brave Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in a five-setter for the ages in the US Open final, Nadal takes his Grand Slam tally to 19.

So the old argument raises its head again, as it inevitably must. Is the Spaniard greater than Roger Federer?

It's beyond debate that the last 15 years have delivered -- and remarkably, are still delivering -- the greatest era of men's tennis. In Federer, Nadal, and Serb Novak Djokovic, we have three genuine contenders for the unofficial crown of GOAT.

But which one of the three is it?

Well, tennis fans still mostly vote for Federer, even when he is beaten by one of the others. This was borne out by the following poll conducted the day after Djokovic beat Federer in this year's Wimbledon final.

In Federer's defence, he's still in front on the overall tally, albeit by just one now. The Swiss is also, with that sublime one-handed backhand and more, the most elegant and watchable of the trio, and perhaps the most likeable too.

But Nadal is 24-16 in head-to-head matches against Federer. So if a man has dominated the greatest ever by a ratio of 3:2, is he himself not the greatest?

Arguing against Nadal, some say that since 12 of his 19 Slams have been won on the clay at Roland Garros in Paris, he is not the true all-rounder that the other two are. But should a man be penalised for being exceptionally good on one surface? And what of his seven slams on other surfaces?

Who said Fed is greater than me? Image: Getty.

And what of Djokovic? At 32 he is the youngest of the trio and has a winning record over the other two. He has 16 Slams and only crashed out of this year's US Open due to a shoulder injury. And his all-round game is arguably the best of the three.

The bottom line might be that they're all the greatest in their own way -- which sounds like a cop-out, but isn't. Because sometimes in both life and sport, there really is no singular answer.

Whatever your thoughts, there's no doubt Nadal just edged a little closer to stand-alone GOAT today.

He's 33, and moves as well as ever. Ask any player and they'll tell you it feels like you've never won a point against him until the ball has thudded into the back wall or the net.

And despite a brave comeback from the 23-year-old Medvedev today, Nadal did what he's done so often. Win.