Due to a coronavirus, the tennis season is halted at least until the last week of April, with slim chances to see the action in May as well, especially in Italy, Spain and France. World no. 2 Rafael Nadal went to Indian Wells after claiming the title in Acapulco but couldn't compete for the fourth title in the desert, with the organizers canceling the opening two Masters 1000 events of the season and sending the players to their homes.
Rafa left Indian Wells some five days after he arrived, heading back home to Porto Cristo in Mallorca and working on physical exercises and hoping to hit the court at his Rafa Nadal Academy again, even though it is not easy to tell when he will be able to compete again.
Just six weeks after the Davis Cup Finals last November, Nadal led Spain at the inaugural ATP Cup and scored wins over Nikoloz Basilashvili, Pablo Cuevas and Yoshihito Nishioka, pushing his country into the quarters together with Roberto Bautista Agut who was too strong for the lower-ranked opponents.
Facing the first serious challenge, Rafa suffered a 6-4, 7-6 loss to David Goffin after grueling two hours and 23 minutes, wasting his opportunities before bouncing back in the doubles clash to keep Spain alive in the competition.
In the semis, Nadal battled past Alex de Minaur after another marathon to propel his country into the final where he stood no chance against Novak Djokovic, losing 6-2, 7-6 and missing the opportunity to conquer another team event when Serbia defeated Spain in the deciding doubles encounter.
Chasing the first Australian Open title since 2009, 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 regardless of other results. Nonetheless, Dominic Thiem halted Rafa in four epic sets after four hours and ten minutes, taking all three tie breaks and allowing Novak Djokovic to clinch 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 the record-breaking crowd of 52,000, heading back home to Mallorca before conquering the 85th title in Acapulco, his last event so far.