Rafael Nadal is one part of men's tennis' illustrious Big 3 trifecta.
The Spaniard's 83.2% career win-loss record is the best of any player to have played over 200 singles matches. Nadal became the first player after Roger Federer to reach 5 finals at each of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments when he beat first-time Slam finalist Matteo Berrettini of Italy to reach his 5th title match at the 2019 US Open.
In a pulsating final against Russian Daniil Medvedev, Nadal squandered a two-set and a break lead before surviving multiple break points on serve in the fifth set to close out a hard-fought win and seal his 19th Grand Slam title, and 4th at the US Open. In the process, the Spaniard pulled to within one of Federer's all-time tally of 20 major titles.
You may also like: 2019 ended 20-19 for Federer and Nadal atop the Slam leaderboard. Would 2020 end 20-20?
The all-time Masters 1000 title leader with 35 titles, Nadal is the title leader at 3 tournaments - Monte Carlo (12), Rome (9) and Madrid (5) - and is also the first player to reach Masters finals in 15 consecutive years (2005 to 2019).
Among a plethora of records during his illustrious career, Nadal (160-16) recorded the best win-loss record (90.9%) of any player during the decade that was 2010-2019. The following 10 achievements during the decade particularly stand out.
#1 First player to win 18 Masters 1000 titles
Following wins over David Ferrer and Ernests Gulbis in the finals of Monte Carlo 2010 and Rome 2010 respectively, Nadal moved level with Andre Agassi's then leading tally of 17 Masters 1000 titles.
A straight-sets victory over defending champion Roger Federer in the Madrid final made Nadal the first player to win 18 Masters 1000 titles. It also made the Spaniard the first to win 3 claycourt Masters 1000 tournaments and the first to win 3 consecutive tournaments in the category.
A triumph at Roland Garros a few weeks later made Nadal the first player to sweep all the big claycourt titles (Masters 1000-3, Grand Slam-1) in a season.
#2 First player to win 3 Grand Slam titles on 3 different surfaces in a calendar year
In the banner season that was 2010, Nadal won his 5th title at Roland Garros (defeated Robin Soderling), 2nd title at Wimbledon and 1st at the US Open (defeated Novak Djokovic). That made him the youngest of 4 players to achieve the coveted career Grand Slam (the feat of winning all 4 Grand Slam tournaments during the course of one's career).
In the process, Nadal emulated Rod Laver (1969) as the only player in the Open Era to win 3 consecutive Grand Slam titles in a calendar year, and the first to win 3 Grand Slam titles in a season on as many surfaces.
You may also like: Nadal's top-5 wins at the US Open
#3 First player to win 8 Grand Slam titles at a tournament
Making his 9th appearance at the claycourt Major in 2013, Nadal survived a break deficit in the fifth set before overwhelming Novak Djokovic in a pulsating last-4 clash to reach his 8th title match on the Parisian terre battue.
In an all-Spanish final against his good friend and compatriot David Ferrer, Nadal's straight-sets win made him the first player in the Open Era to win 8 Grand Slam titles at a tournament.
Six seasons later, Nadal would swell his title tally at the claycourt Major to a staggering 12.
#4 First player to win a Grand Slam title in 10 consecutive seasons
With his 9th triumph at the French Open in 2014, Nadal became the first player to win a Grand Slam title in 10 consecutive seasons.
The Spaniard won a title apiece from 2005-07, 2 in 2008, 1 in 2009, 3 in 2010, 1 in 2011, 1 in 2012, 2 in 2013 and 1 in 2014.
Nadal's record streak came to an end following his first season without a Grand Slam title in 2015, where he suffered quarterfinal exits at both the Australian Open and at the French Open, a second round exit at Wimbledon and a third round exit at the US Open.
#5 First player to win 10 titles at a claycourt tournament
Following his first defeat to Roger Federer at a Grand Slam tournament in over a decade (2017 Australian Open final), Nadal endured further final reverses - Acapulco (Sam Querrey) and Miami (Federer) - before lifting his first title of the season at Monte Carlo.
With his 10th triumph at the tournament, Nadal became the first player to win 10 titles at a claycourt event. The Spaniard would then go on to complete a 'La Decima' of titles at two further tournaments - Barcelona and Roland Garros - later in the season, and would complete his respective 'undecimas' at the three tournaments in 2018.
#6 Second player to win a Grand Slam thrice without dropping a set
Nadal repeated his runs of 2008 and 2010 seven seasons later at the same tournament as he won 2017 Roland Garros without dropping a set.
That made the Spaniard the only player after Bjorn Borg in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set on three separate occasions.
Roger Federer (2007 Australian Open, 2017 Wimbledon) is the only one to do so multiple times since tennis opened its doors to professionals in the summer of 1968.
#7 Second player to reach 5 finals at all 4 Grand Slam tournaments
Following a win over first-time Grand Slam finalist Matteo Berrettini in the semifinals of the 2019 US Open, Nadal emulated Federer as the only players in the Open Era to reach the finals at each Grand Slam tournament on at least 5 occasions.
The Spaniard is 1/5 in Australian Open finals (won in 2009), 12/12 at the French Open, 2/5 at Wimbledon (won in 2008 and 2010) and 4/5 at the US Open (won in 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019).
#8 All-time match win leader at Masters 1000 tournaments
Following a quarterfinal win over Fabio Fognini in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Coupe Rogers in Montreal, Nadal overtook Federer (378) as the all-time match win leader in Masters 1000 tournaments.
The Spaniard would end the season with a 384-79 career win-loss record in the tournament category after withdrawing from his semifinal against Denis Shapovalov at the 2019 Paris Masters.
#9 First player to reach 51 Masters 1000 finals
The semifinal withdrawal of Gael Monfils at the 2019 Coupe Rogers in Montreal made Nadal the first player to reach 51 Masters 1000 finals.
To celebrate the occasion, Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev to extend his record Masters 1000 title tally to 35. In the process, the Spaniard also registered his first ever successful defence of a hardcourt title.
#10 Oldest year-end No. 1
The group-stage exit of five-time champion Novak Djokovic at the season-ending 2019 ATP Finals confirmed Nadal as the year end No. 1 for the 5th time in his career. That is a feat matched only by Federer, Djokovic and Jimmy Connors (5 apiece), and exceeded only by Pete Sampras (6).
The 33-year-old Spaniard would end his season with 7 consecutive wins - 2 in the group-stage of the ATP Finals and 5 at the first-ever Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.