Rafael Nadal almost dropped out from the top-10 in 2015 after a decade, struggling with injuries and failing to raise his form in the following season. The Spaniard could not challenge the rival's from the top in 2016, winning two titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and earning just 39 matches overall for the worst tally since 2004!
A wrist injury forced Rafa to withdraw from Roland Garros before the third-round match against Marcel Granollers. He was sidelined until the second week of August and the Olympic Games in Rio, ready to give his 120% and fight for a medal.
Nadal reached the semi-final in singles with a favorable draw but could not take a medal for Spain. Rafa lost an excellent semi-final encounter against Juan Martin del Potro in the deciding tie break after three hours and eight minutes before another tough loss to Kei Nishikori in a battle for the bronze medal.
The 2008 Beijing singles gold medalist still found a way to leave Brazil in glory after winning the doubles gold medal with his great friend Marc Lopez. Between 2009-2011, the pair had won a couple of Doha and Indian Wells titles, and they were seeded sixth in Rio, hoping for some old magic and a chance to secure a medal.
In the opening round, they defeated Jean-Julien Rojer and Robin Haase before ousting Juan Martin del Potro and Maximo Gonzalez to reach the quarters.
Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez claimed the 2016 Rio Olympics doubles gold medal.
Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya stood no chance against the Spanish pair that scored a 6-3, 6-1 to advance into the semis, where they met Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.
In a super tight encounter, Rafa and Marc prevailed in two tie breaks to secure a medal and set the gold medal meeting the Romanians Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau. After a great battle, Nadal and Lopez prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 with a late break in the encounter's last game for a massive celebration and emotional reactions to one of the most significant career wins for both.
Rio could be Nadal's last Olympic Games, as he withdrew from this year's Tokyo event due to a foot injury. Rafa will be 38 by the time of the next Olympic Games at his beloved Roland Garros in Paris, and we are yet to see if he would be active by then.