Rafael Nadal lost the no. 1 position in the rankings after the Australian Open, losing to Novak Djokovic at the ATP Cup and Dominic Thiem in Melbourne. The Spaniard claimed the title in Acapulco at the end of February, spending the next six months at home in Mallorca due to a coronavirus pandemic, not touching racquet in March and April.
Returning to the practice court in May, Nadal decided to skip the restart of the season in New York, skipping Cincinnati and the US Open (keeping 2000 points from 2019) and entering Rome as his first event after six and a half months.
Nadal lost the title to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final, heading back home and working hard ahead of Roland Garros, the third and last Major of the season. Seeking the 13th title in Paris, Nadal had to deal with challenging weather conditions, new Wilson balls and a roof over Court Philippe-Chatrier, passing all that and seven opponents to lift the 20th Major crown and enter the record books alongside Roger Federer.
Tim Henman said it's fantastic to see Nadal on 20 Majors, praising the Spaniard and his biggest rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic by declaring it is almost impossible to understand how they have managed to achieve so many records over the years.
Competing in one of the most important matches of his entire career, the Spaniard produced a remarkable performance on his beloved Court Philippe-Chatrier, toppling world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes.
At 34, Nadal can win Majors without losing a set, surviving three tough battles with Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic for another record on his tally. It was the 60th ATP title on clay for Rafa and the 86th overall, moving eight behind Ivan Lendl in the third place in the Open era.
On Sunday, Rafael Nadal matched Roger Federer's record of 20 Major titles.
Rafa had to be aggressive and focused against the toughest opponent who had beaten him many times in the last five or six years, producing his masterplan and leaving Novak far behind in the opening two sets.
Nadal landed 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, making no mistakes from both wings and stealing 51% of the return points to remain in front. Novak sprayed 52 unforced errors, unable to find his best tennis for more than two hours and hitting the exit door in straight sets despite a solid effort in the third.
Rafa lost serve once and converted seven out of 18 chances on the return, outplaying Djokovic in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and emerging as a deserved champion for the 13th time in Paris. "It's amazing for Rafa to have matched Roger Federer and got to 20 Major titles.
To draw level on 20 is beyond even his own wildest dreams. When you look at the records of the three players, Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, it's so difficult to understand it," Tim Henman said.