World no. 2 Rafael Nadal had a busy schedule in the first 40 days of the new season, playing in Perth, Melbourne, Kuwait and Cape Town before heading back home to his paradise island of Mallorca. Rafa has found time for what he likes the most when he is not on the tennis court, using warm weather to take his boat out and even enjoy swimming.
The Spaniard has two weeks left before making a return to the court in Acapulco, winning eight out of 11 matches so far in 2020 and seeking the first title in Acapulco or Indian Wells. Nadal is celebrating the 600th week in the top-3 this week, becoming only the second player to achieve that since the beginning of the ATP ranking in 1973 after Roger Federer who stands on 748.
Finishing the season with the year-end no. 1 on his tally and the Davis Cup Finals crown for Spain, Rafa secured another title at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships following a thrilling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, taking a couple of days off and starting preparations for 2020.
The 19-time Major champion kicked off the action at another team event, leading Spain at the inaugural ATP Cup and securing wins over Nikoloz Basilashvili, Pablo Cuevas and Yoshihito Nishioka, struggling a little bit against the Georgian and the Japanese but doing enough to put Spain into the quarters after getting help from Roberto Bautista Agut.
Facing the first serious rival, Rafa suffered a 6-4, 7-6 loss to David Goffin after grueling two hours and 23 minutes, wasting his opportunities and struggling to match the rival's pace before fixing the error in the doubles clash to keep Spain alive.
In the semis, Rafa battled past Alex de Minaur to propel Spain into the final where he stood no chance against Novak Djokovic who toppled him 6-2, 7-6, delivering the first point for Serbia and winning the title in the deciding doubles encounter to leave Spain empty-handed.
Heading to Melbourne, Nadal ousted Hugo Dellien, Federico Delbonis, Pablo Carreno Busta and Nick Kyrgios after an intense battle, advancing into the quarter-final and standing one victory away from keeping the no. 1 spot ahead of Djokovic.
Nonetheless, Dominic Thiem halted Rafa in four epic sets in four hours and ten minutes, taking all three tie breaks and allowing Novak Djokovic to win the title and become world no. 1 again. After a suitable rest, Nadal will now seek the first title in Acapulco in seven years, losing early a year ago after wasting match points against Nick Kyrgios.