Rafael Nadal is perhaps the cover man of this tennis season. The Spaniard was the protagonist of one of the greatest achievements in the history of sport: he did the impossible, managing to match Roger Federer's 20 Slams, winning his 13th Roland Garros.
Simply epic. Rafa began the season by playing the first edition of the ATP Cup. In the quarter-finals against Belgium, Nadal is defeated in two sets by David Goffin but the success obtained in doubles against Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen, with Pablo Carreño Busta, contributing to the victory 2-1 of Spain.
In the semifinals Nadal contributed to Spain's 3-0 over Australia thanks to the victory against Alex De Minaur. In the final, he suffered the 29th defeat against Novak Đoković, in the race for Serbia who won the event with a score of 2-1.
At the Australian Open his run ended in the quarter-finals against Dominic Thiem, suffering his 200th career defeat, after eliminating Hugo Dellien, Federico Delbonis, Pablo Carreño Busta and Nick Kyrgios. After the performance at Match for Africa 6 with Roger Federer, Bill Gates and Trevor Noah, he returned to the field at the Acapulco tournament, which he won for the third time, without losing a set, eliminating Pablo Andújar Miomir Kecmanovic, Kwon Soon- woo, Grigor Dimitrov and, in the final, Taylor Fritz.
After the long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he announced that he would not participate in the US Open. Nadal then came back on the field in Rome for the Italian Open, being unexpectedly defeated in the quarter-finals by Diego Schwartzman with a score of 6-2, 7-5.
The Roland Garros wins
For the first time in his career he then participated at the Roland Garros without having won any title on clay-courts. In the first round he overtook Jahor Herasima-4 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and in the second round Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.
In the third round Nadal eliminated Stefano Travaglia 6-1, 6-4, 6-0 and in the fourth round Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. In the quarter-finals he defeated Jannik Sinner 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1. In the semifinal Rafa avenged the defeat suffered in Rome by Diego Schwartzman by eliminating him with a score of 6-3, 6-3, 7-6.
In his thirteenth final in Paris on 11 October, Rafa defeated world number 1 Novak Dokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, winning his 13th Roland Garros, the 60th tournament he won on clay. and, above all, his 20 Slam, equaling Roger Federer's record.
He closed his season by losing in the semifinals at the ATP Finals to Daniil Medvedev. Through social media, Rafael Nadal shared a post to thank all his fans for the historic, memorable Parisian victory: "I wanted to thank all the fans for the messages of support received in the last few weeks.
For me, even if we have been a while 'more spaced out than normal, receiving lots of support messages on social media or through my mobile phone has certainly helped me."