The rare trait that separates Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic from the rest

Rafael Nadal moved one step closer to Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record at the US Open and the final proved that the pair and Novak Djokovic all have one rare quality in common, according to tennis pundit David Law.

Rafael Nadal was pushed all the way to win his 19th Grand Slam title against Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night.

The 33-year-old edged the Russian 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in New York in one of the greatest US Open finals of all time.

Medvedev deserves his fair share of the plaudits for fighting back from two sets down and pushing Nadal all the way, but the Spaniard held his nerve and clinched victory after four hours and 50 minutes of gruelling action.

Tennis pundit David Law ensured Medvedev got the praise he deserved after the match, while claiming there are only a select few players on the planet who could have dug out victory like Nadal did.

“He [Medvedev] pushed Nadal to a place that not many sports people can go that aren’t at that level,” Law said on the Tennis Podcast.

“He made Nadal go somewhere pretty dark and unpleasant to win that match.

“I couldn’t do that, I am obviously no sports person and I don’t have any athletic skill but my point is, I think the very best sports people are champions, those that get to the level of Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic, Serena [Williams] and [Roger] Federer, it’s not just about how they hit the ball.

“They are prepared to go somewhere that hurts and that makes their nerves shred, but they will still do it anyway.

“Because winning means that much, to get over that line they’ll do anything in that moment.

Rafael Nadal showed something only Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic can do in men's tennis

Rafael Nadal showed something only Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic can do in men's tennis (Image: GETTY)

Rafael Nadal is now just one Grand Slam behind Roger Federer's record of 20

Rafael Nadal is now just one Grand Slam behind Roger Federer's record of 20 (Image: GETTY)

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev played out one of the best US Open finals ever

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev played out one of the best US Open finals ever (Image: GETTY)

“They will push themselves beyond limits, maybe they’re worried about going over because their bodies might break, they might have a mental breakdown.

“I think you saw it in that fifth set, because Nadal went 5-2 up and it looked like the job was done.”

Nadal’s triumph means he is now just one Major short of Federer’s Grand Slam record of 20.

That’s why the US Open will feel like a missed opportunity for Federer after he crashed out in the semi-finals, particularly knowing that Novak Djokovic was forced to retire against Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round.