Serena, Rafa join elite company

November 26, 2013 10:26 AM
Serena Williams won her second career Emirates Airline US Open Series title in 2013 and will lead an array of stars returning to the Series this summer.
Rafael Nadal acknowledges the crowd after winning the 2013 Rogers Cup men's singles title.

By E.J. Crawford

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are certain Hall of Famers who could one day go down as the greatest players in the history of tennis.

This year they stamped themselves as two of the most heralded champions in the nine-year history of the Emirates Airline US Open Series.

With her 2013 title, Williams became the first two-time women’s Series winner. Previously, Kim Clijsters had come the closest, winning the title in 2005, finishing as the runner-up in 2010 and placing third in 2006.

Then, with her victory over Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 US Open final, Williams joined Clijsters (2005) as the only women to win the Series and the Open in the same year. In doing so, the world No. 1 secured a $3.6 million payday – $2.6 million as the US Open champion and $1 million in bonus prize money for winning both the Series and the Open – which broke Clijsters’ record of $2.2 million, which she set in 2005 and matched in 2010.

Not to be outdone, Nadal became just the second man to win two Series crowns, equaling Andy Roddick, who won back-to-back in 2005 and 2006. Nadal then joined Roger Federer as the only men to win both the Series and the US Open in the same year, also taking home $3.6 million to match Williams and surpass Federer’s record of $2.4 million (for winning the Series and US Open in 2007).

The Emirates Airline returns for its 10th anniversary edition in July 2014, with another slate of summer hard-court tournaments and another chance for its champions to make history.