Rafael Nadal claimed the ninth Roland Garros trophy in the previous ten years in 2014, securing the tenth consecutive season with at least one Major crown. As it turned out, that would be the Spaniard's last Major title for the next three years, struggling with injuries and not keeping up with major rivals despite never leaving the top 10.
With just five ATP titles in nearly three years, Nadal bounced back in style in 2017, reaching the Australian Open final and lifting the Monte Carlo trophy. By improving his serve and becoming more aggressive, Nadal was ready to change his game and play more efficient and effective tennis, attacking more and finishing rallies on his terms.
In 2017, Nadal led the circuit as the only player above 60% efficient behind second serve, winning two Major titles at Roland Garros and the US Open and finishing the season No. 1 for the first time in four seasons. A year later, the Spaniard topped the charts again, lifting four notable titles and placing second behind Novak Djokovic in the year-end standings.
In 2019, Rafa was in the top five with 90% of service games won, leading the second-serve tables ahead of Roger Federer and securing another No. 1 along with two major crowns in Paris and New York. In October of last year, Nadal claimed the 20th Major at Roland Garros, with the fury of serving him to keep all seven rivals under pressure and win the title without dropping a set.
Rafa Nadal is injury-free
Boris Becker first admitted that Rafael Nadal's words should be respected given all that he has achieved in tennis. According to the German, there is nobody more knowledgeable than Nadal when it comes to the sport's intricacies.
"When Rafael Nadal speaks about tennis, we first have to shut up and listen," Becker said. "There is (nobody) much better than Nadal. But I can already see a variety - whether it is [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Daniil] Medvedev, [Alexander] Zverev, [Jannik] Sinner or [Carlos] Alcaraz," Becker said.
"They're all different players, so I can't quite understand the argument that he's worried. I don't think it's so tragic, I like the young players." The Spaniard had also claimed that "the situation" would get worse in the coming decade.
"In the past, talent and tactics were much more relevant than they are today," Nadal had said. "Tennis is faster and faster and I'm not convinced it's the right way. If a solution is not found soon, there is a risk that tennis will become hostage to that single shot (serve)," he had added. "I think the situation will get worse in the next 10 years."