Rafael Nadal hits practice court at his Academy ahead of Acapulco title chase

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Rafael Nadal hits practice court at his Academy ahead of Acapulco title chase

After a couple of days off, world no. 2 Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court at his Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, preparing for the upcoming ATP 500 event in Acapulco. Rafa has won eight out of 11 matches so far in 2020, losing the ATP throne to Novak Djokovic after the Australian Open and hoping to get back on the winning way in Acapulco, Indian Wells or Miami and build momentum ahead of the clay season.

The Spaniard is celebrating the 600th week in the top-3, becoming the second player to achieve that since the beginning of the ATP ranking in 1973 after Roger Federer and seeking more milestones in the rest of the season, standing one Major behind the great Swiss.

Finishing the previous season with the fifth year-end no. 1 honor on his tally and the Davis Cup Finals crown for Spain, Rafa secured another trophy at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships following a thrilling win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, taking a couple of days off and starting preparations for 2020.

Just six weeks after the Davis Cup Finals, Nadal was in action at another team event, leading Spain at the inaugural ATP Cup and securing wins over Nikoloz Basilashvili, Pablo Cuevas and Yoshihito Nishioka to push his country into the quarters together with 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 bouncing back in the doubles clash to keep Spain alive.

In the semis, Rafa battled past Alex de Minaur to propel the red squad into the final where he stood no chance against Novak Djokovic, losing 6-2, 7-6 and missing the opportunity to win another team event after Serbia defeated Spain in the deciding doubles encounter.

Heading to Melbourne, Nadal ousted Hugo Dellien, Federico Delbonis, Pablo Carreno Busta and Nick Kyrgios after an intense battle to reach the quarter-final, 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 ahead of the Spaniard. After Melbourne, Nadal had to stay on the road for a week, opening Rafa Nadal Academy in Kuwait on February 5 and playing against Roger Federer in Cape Town two days later in front of 52,000 people.

In Acapulco, Nadal should be the top seed ahead of Matteo Berrettini, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios, seeking points after an early loss to Kyrgios a year ago after squandering match points.