Rafael Nadal came up with an emotional parting message to his coach and uncle Toni after he won his third US Open title at the Flushing Meadows on Sunday, September 10.
The world number one was ruthless on the big night at the Arthur Ashe Stadium as he demolished Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win his second Grand Slam title of the year, his 16th overall.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the world's top two players for the first time since March 2011:— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) September 10, 2017
1. Nadal - 9,465
2. Federer - 7,505
With Sunday's final, uncle Toni's long reign, which included 16 majors and two Olympic Gold medals, as Nadal's coach also came to an end. The 56-year-old, who has been training his nephew for the last 28 years, will return to Manacor to be in charge of the Rafael Nadal Academy, which opened last year.
Nadal had already started working with fellow Spaniard Carlos Moya even before he started the 2017 season after he had ended the last season early. The former world number one is now in line to take complete control of the in-form tennis star.
"I can't thank him enough for all the things he did for me," an emotional Nadal spoke of his uncle Toni after beating Anderson on Sunday.
He added: "It's not just one lesson, it's the things that have happened like the diaries I have kept since three years old. Without him I probably would never had played tennis and it's great that I had somebody like him to push me all the time.
"He was strong and had great motivation to practice with me when I was a kid and I was able to get through the problems that I have had in my career in terms of injuries, which makes me stronger.
"So thank you very much to him as he is one of the most important people in my life."
Notably, Nadal, who is all set to finish the year as the numero uno, had been training under Toni since he was three.
The Spanish tactician has been the key man behind quite a few big decisions that has shaped up his nephews tennis career -- Nadal, who is predominantly a right-hander, was made to play tennis with his left by Toni, who also wanted his ward to play a single-handed forehand, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Nadal also spoke of the "unbelievable" season he has been having in the ongoing year.
The Spanish star, who suffered a fourth-round loss at last year's US Open, opened his campaign this year with a run to the final at the Australian Open. On the dirt, Nadal was unstoppable as he went on to win a historic 10th title at Roland Garros. The grass court season though was a minor blip in what has been a glorious year.
While not many gave the Spaniard a chances to get back to the top of the tennis world after title-less years in 2015 and 2016, Nadal has rallied against odds and is back to playing his best tennis.
"For me personally, it's just unbelievable what happened to me this year after a couple of years with some troubles: injuries, moments playing not good. From the beginning of the season, it has been very emotional," Nadal added.