Fighting injuries, Rafael Nadal lost steam after Roland Garros in 2014, sidelined from the main battles for two and a half years. Adding Carlos Moyá to his coaching staff, Rafa made a fresh start in 2017, winning six titles and claiming titles at Roland Garros and the US Open to get back to where he belongs in style.
The Spaniard returned to the top 2 after Roland Garros that year, conquered the ATP throne before the US Open and consolidated his lead over the rest of the circuit with the third New York trophy. Nadal was a player to beat alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in 2018 and 2019, staying competitive in the GOAT race and adding the 20th Major to his account in October 2020 following the Roland Garros crown.
It was the 13th and most challenging title in Paris for Rafa, competing for only the second time since February and in completely different conditions than in May and June. Nadal had to overcome the Parisian cold and rain alongside seven opponents, the new Wilson balls and a roof over the Philippe-Chatrier court, overcoming all those obstacles to claim the title without losing a set at 34.
In February, Nadal won the title in Acapulco and stayed at home in Mallorca for the next six months before returning to action in Rome in September. Rafa didn't pick a racket in March and April, he took a short break from tennis and hit the practice court in May.
Soon, he decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open, working on clay and defending the Roland Garros title to join Roger Federer in 20 Majors. Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said they had to deal with a lot of problems after a long break, doing his best to bring back the competitive old Rafa.
Nadal opens up on a plethora of topics
Rafael Nadal suffered a major setback this year with a foot injury. The Spaniard withdrew from all the tournaments since his last participation at Washington Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is ready to make his comeback in December at Abu Dhabi.
On getting older, he stated, ” When you get a bit older, the feelings are different in all terms. But at the same time, even today, I had a very tough period of time in terms of my foot injury. So I need to come back hopefully by the beginning of next year”.
Furthermore, he added, “ Of course, I’m going to have some doubts, but I know the process, I have been there plenty of times. It’s true that every time as you get older it gets more difficult [to recover] but I am very excited by the process and by the things that I have to do to try to be back. So, even with doubts, I am confident that if I am able to play without much pain, I will have my chances”.