Rafael Nadal conquered the 20th Major crown at the last year's Roland Garros, matching Roger Federer's record and receiving honors from the entire tennis world. The young Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina praised his compatriot, calling him a mental beast and someone you can learn a lot from.
After 20 years on the Tour, Nadal still plays with the same desire as ever, chasing the big titles and always giving 100% on the court. Rafa finished the previous season inside the top-2 for the record-breaking 12th time and lifted a Major title for the 14th time in the past 16 years!
Kicking off the season as world no. 1, Rafa lost the ATP throne following defeats at the ATP Cup to Novak Djokovic and the Australian Open to Dominic Thiem. The Spaniard bounced back in Acapulco to claim the 85th ATP title before the coronavirus pandemic forced him to spend the next six months at home in Mallorca.
Training on clay, Rafa decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open in New York and prepare his comeback for the Masters 1000 event in Rome. The Spaniard failed to defend the title won in 2019, losing to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final and heading to Roland Garros with three matches in his legs since March!
The Parisian tournament was the last chance for Rafa to secure a Major trophy last year, and he faced the most unusual conditions in the French capital while hoping to find his best tennis.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina praised Rafael Nadal.
Despite cold and rainy weather, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal was ready to face all the challenges.
The king of clay secured the 13th Roland Garros crown without losing a set and matched Roger Federer's record of 20 Major titles. Nadal defeated world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the final, losing serve once and delivering seven breaks to write history books.
That's Rafa's last Major title so far, failing to conquer another in 2021 after struggling with injuries and experiencing the third Roland Garros defeat to Novak Djokovic in the semis. "Rafael Nadal is a mental beast. You can learn a lot from him by watching how he manages his matches," Alejandro Davidovich Fokina said.