Rafael Nadal: 'The competition takes a back seat'

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Rafael Nadal: 'The competition takes a back seat'

Like all the other players, Rafael Nadal had to endure two tough weeks in Paris during last year's Roland Garros, respecting the health and bubble measures. Sharing the living space with his coach Carlos Moyá and physical therapist Rafael Maymo, Nadal had to find a way to spend the day when there were no games, playing the PlayStation and watching series.

Nadal said it wasn't easy for him to stay locked in with two people for a whole day, but his efforts paid off, as he won the 13th Roland Garros crown and the 20th Major. Outside the bubble, Nadal had to endure difficult moments on the court and compete on clay in cold and rainy weather, with the new Wilson balls and a roof over the Philippe-Chatrier court.

Nadal's rivals expected a surprise in those harsh conditions, but the clay king had other plans, winning the title without losing a set to write the record books. At age 34, Nadal clinched the 13th title in 16 trips to Paris, dominating to defend his kingdom for one more season.

Nadal defeated Egor Gerasimov in the first round, losing serve once and giving five breaks for a strong start. Mackenzie McDonald, Stefano Travaglia and Sebastian Korda had no chance against the Spaniard, who lost 13 games in nine sets and lost serve once.

With momentum and good feelings on the court, Nadal had to fight for six hours against Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, enduring a challenging set against each to advance to the 13th Roland Garros final and set the clash against Novak Djokovic.

Nadal will cheer for Team Spain

Rafael Nadal has offered his support to the Spanish Davis Cup team after Carlos Alcaraz was forced to withdraw from the 2021 Finals due to a positive COVID-19 test. Pedro Martinez has replaced the 18-year-old star in the Spanish squad.

"When something like this happens, the competition takes a back seat," Nadal wrote on Twitter. "The most important thing is health and I hope there are no more cases. A hug to all." After Alcaraz’s exit, Team Spain consists of: Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Feliciano Lopez, and Marcel Granollers.

They will announce the replacement soon. Most importantly, Team Spain will go against Daniil Medvedev-led Team Russia and Team Ecuador. Let’s see if these players can repeat history for their country without Nadal and Alcaraz.

Above all, the Spanish great is also looking forward to competing at the Australian Open 2022. Given his determination, Nadal will most likely return as if he had never left.