Rafael Nadal from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Spaniard's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. 2017 was the beginning of Rafael Nadal's (and Roger Federer's) second career. The Spaniard and the Swiss competed in an epic Australian Open final: it was a legendary match, of great importance.
Federer won in five exciting sets at the end of an incredible tournament. Nadal was also defeated by his Swiss rival at Indian Wells and Miami, but his clay-swing was triumphant. He won Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and the 10th Roland Garros of his career against Stan Wawrinka.
An incredible result. But it wasn't the end, because Rafa also won the US Open, his 16th Slam, in the final against Kevin Anderson. Returning also world no.1. "In 2014 I suffered several injuries and health problems, which made me nourish of doubts about my shape and which conditioned my 2017, producing anxiety unknown to me until then.
In fact, this internal stress lasted for six or seven months. Fortunately, they never came back, but who knows in the future, they could come back," said Rafa at the end of an amazing 2017. In that year he made a team-up with Roger Federer during the Laver Cup.
Nadal said that he already tried to convince Roger to play doubles with him 11 years ago. "I kept him waiting. When you keep someone waiting, then they'll appreciate more, that's why he's so excited now" said Federer.
"Good things always keep waiting," said Nadal.
In 2018 he won Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros for the 11th time, beating Dominic Thiem, and winning a total of 5 titles, losing a sensational Wimbledon semi-final against Novak Djokovic.
Regarding his relationship with Federer, Rafa said: "The word friend is important to me. We cannot call anyone friend, my friends are the people I have known for many years and who are present in everyday life. With Federer, I have a very good relationship.
I would say that we are excellent companions. We congratulate each other on something important. It is the same relationship I have with Djokovic and Murray." Nadal's 2019 was a super year, despite losing the Australian Open final against Nole.
Not only, because he came back world no.1, but he also won his fifth Davis Cup, the French Open and US Open again, going one Slam away from the Federer's 20 Slams record. On 19 October 2019 Rafa married Mallorca with his fiancée Francesca Xisca Maria Perelló, after many years of trust.
The culmination of a simply incredible season and professional life. “We really enjoyed this wonderful day. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed all the invited people who came, it was a great day!" said Nadal about his marriage.
2020 has so far been conditioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Rafael Nadal's tennis story is not over yet