On this day: Rafael Nadal completes career Grand Slam

On this day in 2010, Rafael Nadal become only the seventh man in history to win all four Grand Slam tournaments.

There are achievements in sport that set a particular team or player out from their competition. In football winning the treble is considered the ultimate feat, while in cricket an England player can do no better than beating Australia in an Ashes series. In tennis, the career Grand Slam turns a player from very good to one of the greats.

That is exactly what Rafael Nadal managed on this day in 2010. With the French Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open all under his belt from years past, the tournament at Flushing Meadows had up to this point eluded him. Few could have doubted that the man from Mallorca deserved to be recognised as a great, and his performance on the day made sure that he would be.

Rafael Nadal holds the championship trophy after his win over Novak Djokovic during the men's final of the US Open on September 13, 2010© AFP

Before Nadal completed the set, only six men had ever won all four majors in history, all of whom were very distinguished names in the game. Only three of those had come in the Open Era. With his efforts at the US Open final in 2010, Nadal joined a very elite guest list comprising Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Don Budge and Fred Perry.

The 2010 tournament was notable for the performance of several Spanish players, for whom the US Open was historically a tough occasion. No Spaniard had won it since Manuel Orantes in 1975, but there were six in the fourth round as well as two all-Spanish quarter-finals.

However, only one of them could be regarded as potentially the greatest player of all time - Nadal. He started how he intended to go on and cruised into the third round without dropping a set, before continuing his march with an impressive 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon on day seven.

Rafael Nadal in action against Novak Djokovic during the US Open men's singles final on September 9, 2013© AFP

Then came back-to-back games against his own compatriots, as first Feliciano Lopez and then Fernando Verdasco were also blown away. By now, the semi-finals, Nadal had become the heavy favourite and the world number one was determined to claim tennis's big achievement. After dispatching of Mikhail Youzhny with ease, only Novak Djokovic - who had defeated Roger Federer in an epic - stood in his way.

The players had to wait until an unscheduled Monday due to bad weather - the third time in succession that the tournament could not be completed within the fortnight. The delay served only as a boost to Nadal's Serbian opponent, who now had an extra day to recover. However, the big-hitting left-hander by now would not let anything get between him and his career Grand Slam.

He dropped his first set of the tournament in the final, which was partly due to a rain delay and Djokovic playing at the top of his game. Despite losing the second set, Nadal was in scintillating form throughout, with Djokovic unable to keep his level high enough for long enough. Nadal claimed the match 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2 and with it became the seventh man to get his hands on all four Slams.

"That's more than I dreamt," Nadal said afterwards. "It's just amazing to be here in this final, just to arrive in this final. To have this trophy here in a few seconds, in my hands, is going to be unbelievable."

It was his ninth Slam overall, with victory earlier this week at the same tournament moving him to third on the all-time list with 13, just behind Pete Sampras with 14.

Rafael Nadal in action against Novak Djokovic during the US Open men's singles final on September 9, 2013
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