World number 2 Rafael Nadal announced a few weeks ago that he would not be traveling to the United States to defend his title at the US Open. Many have expressed their opinion on the decision of the Spanish phenomenon. The 19-time Grand Slam champion has chosen to focus on Roland Garros, scheduled for late September due to the Coronavirus emergency.
In the event of a 13th win in the French capital, the Majorcan champion would equal the eternal rival Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slam titles. In the opinion of Mats Wilander, former ATP number 1 and current commentator for Eurosport, he believes that Nadal would have had the real chance to win both in New York and Paris.
A few days before the announcement, Rafa admitted that traveling to the United States didn't seem like the best option right now. The US was and still is in the grip of the virus, a factor that has also led other players to forfeit.
Wilander on Rafael Nadal
“Yes, because it would surely hurt your chances of winning later at Roland Garros. I think he could win both, but he has a reason. There must be a feeling, you must want to go above everything, more than being physically prepared or not.
If you don’t want to go, then you are not going to win the tournament in any way" - Mats Wilander said. Almost all the top players have restarted their 2020 season, barring Rafael Nadal. It will be interesting to see whether Nadal shows signs of rustiness when the tour arrives in Europe for the clay-court tournaments.
A beautiful Foro Italico in Rome will be the venue of the second Masters 1000 event of the season, staged between September 14-21, right after the US Open 2020. Rafa defended the title claimed in 2018, becoming the first player with 34 Masters 1000 titles.
It was the last test for both ahead of Roland Garros where they would be the top favorites, with Nadal beating Djokovic for the 26th time and the first in a year. It was the first title for Rafael Nadal since Canada 2018, getting back on track on the beloved surface after three straight semi-final losses.
Competing in the 50th Masters 1000 final, Rafa dominated in sets one and three to cross the finish line first, with Novak giving his best to overcome a terrible start and a bagel.