Like all the other players, world no. 2 Rafael Nadal has been forced to take a different kind of battle in the last five weeks or so, replacing the tennis court with cooperation with the fellow Spanish athletes in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic that has taken many lives in Spain so far.
The 19-time Major champion joined forces with the basketball legend and his close friend Pau Gasol, forming a Red Cross campaign Nuestra Mejor Victoria to collect as much money as possible for all those who have been dealing with the pandemic or lost their family members.
Alongside that main initiative to raise 11 million euros, Rafa has donated one of his shirts from 2019 Roland Garros final that went to the auction, with all the funds raised going to the Red Cross campaign. The shirt went for €20,500, with the lucky owner getting a piece of tennis history from last year's Roland Garros that carried Nadal towards the 18th Major crown and the 12th in Paris.
In the quarters, Rafa ousted Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in less than two hours, dominating from start to finish to set the semi-final clash with Roger Federer, their first in the semi-final at Roland Garros since 2005! Federer gave his best in harsh conditions but Rafa proved to be too strong, delivering a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 triumph in two hours and 25 minutes, getting broken twice but earning six breaks from 16 opportunities to keep Roger behind and advance into the 12th Roland Garros final.
There, Dominic Thiem stood across the net just like in 2018, taking the second set but not standing a chance in the other three to propel the Spaniard over the finish line. After three hours, Nadal notched a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory en route to his 12th trophy in Paris, extending his dominance and sharing a piece of that win with someone generous enough to offer 20,500 euros for one of his shirts used in the final.