The 19-time Major champion and one of the most accomplished players in history, Rafael Nadal, turns 34. Instead of Paris, his usual place for a birthday celebration, the great Spaniard is at home in Mallorca, practicing ahead of the season restart and hoping to compete in as many tournaments as possible in the rest of 2020.
Due to the coronavirus, Nadal had to skip all the events after Acapulco and return home before Indian Wells like all the other players, taking a couple of months off and resuming his practice sessions at his Academy a couple of days ago.
The ATP ranking has been under the ice since March 16, and once it continues, Nadal will earn a massive record as only the third player in the Open era ranked in the top-2 after turning 34! Ken Rosewall was the first to achieve that in 1975, well after turning 40, followed by Roger Federer who was ranked second on his 34th birthday in August 2015, occupying that spot for the last time in October 2018.
Despite some ups and downs at the beginning of the previous season due to injuries, Rafael Nadal bounced back to challenge Novak Djokovic for the year-end no. 1 spot.
After unexpected three straight semi-final losses on clay, the Spaniard won the title in Rome and secured the 12th Roland Garros crown, repeating that in Montreal and New York on hard courts to control the ATP Race before the closing events of the year.
At the US Open, Rafa overpowered Daniil Medvedev in thrilling five sets for the 19th Major crown, moving one behind Roger Federer and hoping to match or pass the Swiss in 2020.
Carried by that momentum, Nadal managed to finish the year ahead of Djokovic, securing the fifth year-end no. 1 honor as the fifth player since 1973 and closing the season with the title for Spain at the Davis Cup. The ATP Cup was Nadal's first stop in 2020, leading Spain into the final together with Roberto Bautista Agut.
Novak Djokovic beat him to secure Serbia's title before Dominic Thiem ousted Rafa in the quarters at the Australian Open, handing the ATP throne to Novak who celebrated the eighth crown in Melbourne. After a suitable rest, Nadal claimed the 85th ATP title in Acapulco at the end of February, competing in the last tournament before the coronavirus pandemic and flying back home from Indian Wells to stay with his family in the previous three months.
If everything goes right, Nadal will have the opportunity to play at the US Open and Roland Garros, hoping to defend the titles won in 2019 and 4000 points.