In 2012, Rafael Nadal claimed the record-breaking seventh Roland Garros crown, completing another impressive clay-court tour and expecting more of the same for the remainder of the season. Instead, the Spaniard missed the second half of the season due to a left knee injury, finishing outside the top 2 for the first time since 2004 and staying off the pitch until February 2013.
In one of the most impressive comebacks, Rafa achieved 75 wins from 83 matches that year, lifting ten ATP titles and passing all opponents to win the No. 1 award for the first time in three years. Following the US Open title, Nadal lost to Djokovic in the final in Beijing and the semi-final in Shanghai and Paris before seeking the first ATP Finals crown in London.
Rafa defeated David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka to top the round robin standings and set up the semi-final clash against Roger Federer. In Group B, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer prevailed in a close battle with Richard Gasquet and Juan Martín Del Potro to reach the last four after ten three sets in 12 matches.
Djokovic defeated Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals before the 32nd clash between Rafa and Roger. The Spaniard took the lead on November 10 and clinched a 7-5, 6-3 win in 80 minutes for the 22nd win over the Swiss and the first indoors, advancing to the second ATP Finals title fight.
Roger entered the match with a 3-0 lead over Rafa on a covered surface, celebrating victories at this event in 2006, 2007 and 2010 and hoping to demonstrate his masterclass under these conditions. Nadal had other plans, though, to fend off three out of four break chances and push Roger's second serve to the limit to secure four breaks out of as many chances and cross the finish line first.
They had a similar number of winners and forced errors. The main difference came in the unforced errors department, where Federer counted more than 30 after failing to match the opponent's pace.
Rafael Nadal is a tennis legend
Iga Swiatek's sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz spoke about the event and the opportunity to get it organized.
Abramowicz said the training session with Rafael Nadal was planned as a surprise for Swiatek's birthday. "The idea for a gift and training with Rafa was born in Rome," she said. "I saw that she was watching Rafa's training with great interest.
Thought it would be a nice, inspiring surprise." While speaking to members of the media following the training session in Paris, the former French Open champion talked about the "positive energy" she got from her interactions with the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
"It (her training session with Rafael Nadal) gave me, like a lot of positive energy," Iga Swiatek said. "It was really a huge inspiration for me. It's really nice to see such a champion being normal off court, and also telling jokes and being a little sarcastic. It's really, really nice. He's the guy that everybody can take something from for themselves."