Fully aware of his greatness, Rafael Nadal still refuses to call on GOAT race between him, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. At Roland Garros, Nadal claimed the 20th Major crown, joining Roger Federer at the top of the record books and increasing his chances of finishing as the greatest player ever.
Leaving Novak Djokovic three Majors behind, Rafa assumes he belongs among two best players of all time with Roger, although that race is far from over. Federer will return at the beginning of 2021 after missing almost the entire season due to knee surgeries, hoping to chase Major titles again at 39.
On the other hand, Novak Djokovic is the youngest among the three of them, looking like the player to beat in the next couple of years and still having a chance of catching Nadal and Federer at the top. Losing to Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, Rafa claimed the 85th ATP title in Acapulco in February, spending the next six months at home due to the coronavirus.
Skipping Cincinnati and the US Open, Nadal trained on clay at his Academy in Mallorca, returning to Rome where he lost to Diego Schwartzman in the quarters. Heading to Roland Garros with only three matches in his legs since the end of February, Nadal raised his level and passed all the obstacles to lift the 13th trophy in Paris and join Roger on 20 Majors.
Rafa beat all seven opponents in straight sets, achieving that for the fourth time in Paris and becoming the second-oldest Roland Garros champion at 34. Nadal's 100th Roland Garros victory from 102 encounters came in the title match against Novak Djokovic, beating the Serb 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes.
Rafael Nadal joined Roger Federer on 20 Majors at Roland Garros.
It was one of the most important encounters of the 21st century and Nadal was not to be denied in the conditions that favored Djokovic, producing aggressive tennis that saw no match from the other side of the net.
Rafa lost serve once and made seven breaks, delivering a bagel in the opener and standing strong ahead of set number three. There, they traded breaks in the middle of the set and the Spaniard clinched the crucial one at 5-5 following a double fault from the Serb.
Trailing six Majors behind Roger after Wimbledon 2012, Nadal has outplayed Roger 9-3 on the biggest tennis scene to match his Major record and confirm tennis immortal's staus. "The numbers should be analyzed by people who have good knowledge of the history of tennis.
Honestly, it doesn't matter to me much; I'm happy with my career. At the moment, it's clear that I'm one of the two. We'll see what happens in the next few years: what Djokovic does, what Federer does when he returns, and what I keep doing. If all goes well, we'll have time to analyze it when our careers are over," Rafael Nadal said.