Like many others, Rafael Nadal struggled a lot during the last year's pandemic, staying away from the practice court for two months and missing six months between March and September. The Spaniard claimed the title at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco at the end of February before the pandemic halted the action for five and a half months.
Rafa decided not to travel to the USA for Cincinnati and the US Open, practicing at home on clay instead and setting eyes on Rome and Roland Garros. The 12-time champion in Paris came to Roland Garros with only a couple of matches in his legs in the previous six months, facing challenging conditions, new balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier.
It was the last chance of the season for Rafa to catch Roger Federer on milestone 20 Major titles, and the Spaniard had to discuss that topic ahead of Roland Garros. Nadal conquered Roland Garros and the US Open in 2019 to move one Major crown behind Roger, trying to catch him at his beloved Roland Garros a year ago.
Keeping the points from the last season, Nadal skipped the US Open and returned to the court at Foro Italico, 200 days after his previous match in Acapulco. After two victories, Rafa lost to Diego Schwartzman in straight sets, falling 6-2, 7-5 and moving back to the practice court ahead of the season's last Major in Paris.
Rafael Nadal spoke about the GOAT race ahead of Roland Garros 2020.
Following the third-round victory over Dusan Lajovic in Rome, Nadal said he can not always think about the GOAT race against Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The Spaniard claimed he wants to do things his way, as always in the previous two decades, hoping for more chances to fight for Major trophies. Heading to Roland Garros with determination to extend his dominance, Nadal defeated all seven rivals in straight sets to claim a historic 20th Major crown that put him on the level terms with Roger Federer for the first time in a career.
"When you ask me about Roger Federer's record, I always say the same. I made my entire career in my way and will keep doing that. I'm not obsessed with those 20 Major titles; I can not always think about Roger or Novak Djokovic and our race for most Majors.
I know journalists put much attention on that. I would love to finish my career at 25 Majors, but that's unlikely to happen. I'm going to fight and create chances; we will see when I finish my career. I want to keep enjoying tennis, that's all. If I'm playing on a high level, I'm a Major contender. If not, it's impossible to win it," Rafael Nadal said.