Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I came here to play my best tennis and not think about..'

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Rafael Nadal recalls: 'I came here to play my best tennis and not think about..'

The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal led the field at the last year's final Masters 1000 event in Paris. Following the 13th crown at Roland Garros, Nadal was unsure about competing at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals.

Still, world no. 2 decided to enter the Masters 1000 event in the French capital, seeking one of the rare notable titles missing in his rich collection. Rafa made a debut in Paris in 2007, reaching the final but winning only four games against David Nalbandian to settle with the runner-up prize.

Suffering many injuries in the post-US Open months over the years, Nadal was never the favorite on an indoor hard court, reaching three more semi-finals in Paris but never fighting for the title again. In 2019, Rafa advanced into the last four following a victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before withdrawing with an abdominal injury ahead of Denis Shapovalov clash, still earning valuable points in the year-end no.

1 battle against Novak Djokovic. After proper and well-deserved rest, Rafa sought back-to-back crowns in the French capital last November following the historic Roland Garros success, standing as the top seed as the defending champion Novak Djokovic decided to skip Paris.

Nadal played only five tournaments in 2020 before Paris, winning two ATP crowns in Acapulco and Roland Garros. Spending six months at home, Nadal stayed away from the tennis court in March and April, starting to practice in May and not liking New York conditions ahead of Cincinnati and the US Open.

Rafael Nadal was the top seed at the last year's Rolex Masters in Paris.

The Spaniard skipped both events, keeping 2000 points for the 2019 US Open title and setting his eyes on Rome and Roland Garros. Rafa failed to lift another trophy at Foro Italico, losing to Diego Schwartzman in the quarters and entering uncharted territories in Paris, dealing with cold and rainy weather and a roof above Philippe-Chatrier.

Standing above all the obstacles and rivals, Nadal claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown, never losing a set and joining Roger Federer on 20 Major trophies. Seeking the 36th Masters 1000 crown, Rafa would reach the semis in Paris before losing to Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

After dealing with a foot injury, the Spaniard had to skip this year's edition of the season's last Masters 1000 event. "I'm here to play my best and not to think about injuries. When I go to a tournament, I focus on trying to play my best tennis.

Not to worry about if I got injured in the past, that can happen again. We are indeed in different circumstances than in previous years. Still, you need to take care of the situation and be ready to accept any inconvenience. If nothing happens in Paris, I will compete at the ATP Finals.

It's part of the history of our game. It's an important event and a gathering of the best players of the season. I like to play tennis, so I like to play a bit more than two tournaments every six or seven months, no? So it's nothing new that I played well after a while without playing tennis; I did it in the past. That confirms I can do it," Rafael Nadal said.