Rafael Nadal starts his 18th Roland Garros campaign against Jordan Thompson on Monday. Rafa struggles with a foot injury but will try to rise above it and challenge the other favorites en route to his 14th crown in Paris. Nadal's previous Roland Garros title came in October 2020, battling against tough weather conditions, new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier towards the 20th Major crown.
Adding Carlos Moya to his coaching staff, Rafa made a fresh start in 2017 after a couple of rough years. He claimed six titles that year and claimed Major crowns at Roland Garros and the US Open to get back where he belongs.
Between 2017-2019, Nadal was the player to beat alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. He stayed competitive in the GOAT race and added the 20th Major to his tally in October 2020 at Roland Garros to write another chapter of tennis history.
It was the 13th and the most challenging title in Paris for Rafa, competing only for the second time since February due to the pandemic and entirely different conditions from what we have in Paris in May and June.
Carlos Moya spoke about all the issues Rafael Nadal had to deal with in 2020.
Nadal had to beat the Parisian cold and rainy weather alongside seven opponents, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier.
He passed all the obstacles to claim the title without dropping a set at 34! Nadal won the title in Acapulco in February and stayed at home in Mallorca for the next six months, skipping two notable events in New York in August and September.
Rafa returned to action in Rome in September for a slow return, and he raised his level in Paris a few weeks later to secure the milestone 20th Major crown. Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said they had many issues after such a long break, with the top priority to bring back the old Rafa, who loves the competition.
Gradually, they achieved that just in time for Paris, where Nadal competed at a high level. Rafa never lost a set in seven matches, and he toppled Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the title match to write another chapter of tennis history books.
"We have achieved our basic goal, bringing back the good old Rafa, a competitive one who enjoys playing tennis. People who do not see the day-to-day are not aware of what all these months have been. They have not been easy at all.
We have achieved it based on a lot of work, even though it was not easy. In addition to his head, we had to deal with the situation that has affected everyone since February or March," Carlos Moya said.