Struggling with injuries, Rafael Nadal was way off his pace after winning Roland Garros in 2014, sidelined from the Major battles in the next two and a half years. Adding Carlos Moya to his coaching staff, Rafa started all over in 2017, winning his titles in total and claiming Major crowns at Roland Garros and the US Open to get back where he belongs.
The Spaniard returned into the top-2 after Roland Garros, staying there ever since and lifting the US Open crown to become world no. 1 for the first time in a couple of years. In the previous three seasons, Nadal was the player to beat alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, staying competitive in the GOAT race and adding the 20th Major to his tally last Sunday at Roland Garros to write another chapter of tennis history.
It was the 13th and the most challenging title in Paris for Rafa, competing only for the second time since February and in entirely different conditions than in May and June.
Rafael Nadal passed all the obstacles to claim the 20th Major crown at Roland Garros.
Nadal had to beat the Parisian cold and rainy weather alongside seven opponents, the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, passing all the obstacles to claim the title without dropping a set at 34!
Nadal won the title in Acapulco in February, staying at home in Mallorca for the next six months and returning to action only in Rome in September. Rafa didn't pick a racquet in March and April, taking a little break from tennis and hitting the practice court in May.
Soon, he decided to skip Cincinnati and the US Open, working on clay and defending the title at Roland Garros to join Roger Federer on 20 Majors. Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said they had many issues after such a long break, with the top priority to bring back the old Rafa who loves the competition.
Gradually, they achieved that just in time for Paris where Nadal competed on a high level, never losing a set in seven matches and toppling Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the title match to write another chapter of tennis history books.
"We have achieved our basic goal, bringing back the good old Rafa, a competitive one who enjoys playing tennis. People who do not see the day to day are not aware of what all these months have been. They have not been easy at all.
We have achieved it based on a lot of work, even though the day to day was not easy. In addition to his head, we had to deal with the situation that has affected everyone since February or March," Carlos Moya said.